Tuesday, April 11, 2006
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.
I wonder often how much of what I learned while in school I learned in class and how much from book recommendations from teachers.