Learning to read; reading to learn

free-book-library1It’s countdown time–not to Christmas or New Year’s. The end of the semester is 5 days away. Luckily, I’m only taking two classes, and I’ve been staying on top of the reading and other requirements. One class only had two exam/papers, with the final due on Friday. But I just counted. The other class had 15 requirements including a group presentation (completed on Monday), five 2-3 page reflection papers, an organizational profile, educator interview with a write-up, plus two long papers that are due between now and the end of the semester, and also mandatory re-writes of papers and two different evaluations (which doesn’t even include the university’s evaluations). It’s exhausting just to consider the list.

For one of the papers, we have to distill our beliefs about the purpose of public education. One would think that would be pretty easy, given most readers of IndexCardCure have spent at least a decade or more in schools. But as I was pondering and writing, my list of the purpose of education seemed to get longer and longer. Also, learning is different than institutional school attendance, even though the terms are often used interchangeably.

xmas-treeWhen I consider my grandchildren, it’s easy to see that learning comes naturally. The baby has figured out crawling, eating and knocking towers down, which is why their Christmas tree is on top of a cabinet. His older sisters are learning to swim, ice skate and ride bikes. Humans have an amazing drive and capacity to learn, so how does school facilitate the learning process?

One necessity in life is being able to read fluently and comprehend what you have read. President Obama indicates that “If we want to give our children the best possible chance in life; if we want to open doors of opportunity while they’re young and teach them the skills they’ll need to succeed later on, then one of our greatest responsibilities as citizens, as educators, and as parents is to ensure that every American child can read and read well… literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy we’re living in today.” Mother Teresa said “Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” Given how far the grandchildren live from us, I help a 4th grader at the local elementary school improve his reading skills. Learning to read may be one one of the most important skills that will occur in childhood. The expectation is first learn to read, then read to learn.

My co-blogger, Jane, and I believe in the importance of literacy. If you are lucky enough to have children in your life, give them books for the holidays or anytime. Reading is a gift that keeps on giving. President Obama also said, “We need to get books in our kids’ hands early and often.” Agreed.

© Joan S Grey, 16 Dec 2016
IndexCardCure™: writing essays intentionally

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