Thursday, January 26, 2012

Learning to Read

Question: How do many children feel about learning to read in school?

 Answer/Quote: “Reading as an activity apart from the story to be enjoyed or content to be learned is rather sterile and meaningless. Used to the excitement of television [and video games, cell phone conversations, the Internet, etc.] … and the emotion-filled traumas of their own lives, many children find the materials facing them in many basal readers relatively dull. They are materials to be read solely for the act of reading. Because of this fact, many students develop negative attitudes about reading. It’s something that they have to do, like eating vegetables, rather than something they want to do.” P. 564.

Comment: I only knew Morton Botel at a distance, mostly through his articles in professional journals. He taught at the University of Pennsylvania and was one of the most brilliant educators with whom I was ever associated. He was a gad fly. He once wrote an article about how reading teachers performed the most brilliant diagnoses on students’ reading problems, but still wound up using SRA as the solution to every student’s problem in reading. In this quote, he has identified reading for the purpose of learning to read as dull, a negative activity that produces negative attitudes toward reading. RayS.

Title: “Diagnose the Reading Program Before You Diagnose the Child.” M Botel and A Granowsky. The Reading Teacher (March 1973), 563-564+. 

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