Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Reading in a vaccuum 

I find it curious that educationists regard "reading" and learning science and history as being mutually exclusive. "Reading" is not some abstract, isolated skill but a practical tool that can be applied to many fields. Couldn't you learn a lot of history and science by reading? Whatever happened to reading across the curriculum?

From Instructivist, responding to an NYT article.

It's things like this, the belief that reading can be separated from other fields of learning, or actually that fields like history and science and economics can be studied separately from reading, that make me afraid of public schools and seriously consider giving up a career to homeschool.

I'm a history nut, and almost all the history I know I read. On my own. Not in a classroom. I couldn't teach myself history if I didn't know how to read.

I couldn't teach myself Spanish if I didn't know how to read.

There are different kinds of reading once you learn the basics, different methods of absorbing and analyzing information depending on what you are reading. You read a memoir differently than you read a biography. You read an economics book differently than you read a history book. You may read slower or refer to things earlier in the text. You may need to take in information from a graph or table. Different kinds of reading.

I believe each kind of reading can be taught in context. I learned to read graphs in math, but I didn't really understand their value until economics. I learned to read regression models in psychology. I learned how to think about veracity and author's voice studying history and memoir.

You can't read in a vacuum, except when reading those inane passages on the SAT and GRE tests. Reading is a means to an end, that end being learning. You can learn history or science just fine when learning to read. And you'll be a lot less bored.

So true...so true. There are hundreds of thousands of teachers out there who agree with you, and please understand that these same teachers do what they need to when the door is closed. Most of us have to talk the talk and walk the walk of school "politics", but in private we do what we know educates children whether it's popular at the time or not. However, I think homeschool is great...did it myself for a time. Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting. I really appreciate your comment on Jefferson. I wish more people would take the time to comment. It makes things so much more interesting. You have many juicy tidbits here at your site and I plan to drop by often!
I appreciate that!

I wonder often how much of what I learned while in school I learned in class and how much from book recommendations from teachers.
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