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Old 10-08-2011, 08:40 AM   #16
Apache
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I have loved to read all my life. I used to carry a book to school and read between bells for class to start. Then in High School they tried to force me to read A Scarlet Letter. I hated that book and never did finish it. I think that is the only book I never finished. I even loved to read my history books and would read them cover to cover in the first week. I still carry a book with me every where I go. If I am eating alone at a restaurant, I read while I eat. I would rather read than watch TV or Movies.
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:42 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by patrickt View Post
If the schools taught sex the way they teach reading, by the time the kids reached puberty they wouldn't want to do it.
Y'know, I'm going to have to remember that for the next time someone complains about children ignoring their state-approved abstinence-only sex ed and going off to get pregnant.

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Old 10-08-2011, 10:11 AM   #18
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I've read since as far back as I can remember. My grandmother was a reader and an example, but I'm not sure why I became so avid a reader. My parents were very open to me reading anything I wanted, but were not readers for pleasure.

When I was young I read science fiction (got that from my older brother), Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, adventure stories, car books, sports books, etc. I devoured books.

Then I had to take "Literature" in High School. These were plays (meant to be acted but we had to read them) and books that had been determined to be great, classics, or "literature." Genre fiction was touched on lightly (thank goodness).

I have never forgotten one book that my Lit teacher made us read. She, fortunately, understood that we would get bored quickly. The book was, The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy which is divided into 5 books. She told us to plow through the first book and the story would get better after that. She was correct. It ended up being pretty good. I only read it once but I remember parts of it 40 years later.

I think that parents, teachers and other important adults in a child's life can inspire them to read. Some direction is good, but letting the child explore on his or her own is also very important. Encouragement is also important.

It will probably never be "cool" or mainstream. Such is life.
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:34 AM   #19
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I also have problems with many aspects of the educational system, but I'm not letting parents off the hook. A love of books and reading starts long before school begins and needs to be nurtured along the way. School is an adjunct or partnership in my kids education and I NEVER relinquished my ultimate responsibility in the process. If you don't like the way reading (or other subjects) is taught, step up, get involved and augment the program...... Oh, about the OP's original post, if you think reading is not 'cool' to students, just spend some time around highschool seniors discussing which colleges accepted them!!
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:04 AM   #20
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I really have to disagree. I don't think that reading is 'uncool' and I don't think it's 'cool'. I'm a 21 year old college student and I know a bunch of people who read for fun and a bunch of people who don't. Similarly, I know a bunch of people who like to hike, a bunch of people who like to swim, a bunch of people who like to party, a bunch of people who play video games... Are you getting my point here? I don't see it as cool or uncool, I see it just like any other hobby. Some people like it, some people don't. Some people don't like it and then suddenly do. (I feel like I'm reciting One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish!)

I'd really love to know what makes y'all think reading is UNCOOL? I think the image of a nerdy person reading is extremely dated and not at all the case anymore. All sorts of people read, and considering just how many books are sold, I'd say a heck of a lot of the population reads in some fashion - books, newspapers, nonfiction, magazines.
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:18 AM   #21
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reading is cool imo.
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:21 AM   #22
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Well, yeah, but you're an otter....I'd expect reading to be cool for otters. duh!

Last edited by kennyc; 10-08-2011 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:43 AM   #23
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good point.
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:05 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teh603 View Post
Dunno, people used to cluster around the radio to listen to the old radio shows before the era of TV. Some of them were pretty good, cheesy sound effects aside. I used to have some records and cassettes from back in that day- Flash Gordon, Sergeant Preston, The Shadow, ones like that. But since visual entertainment has replaced auditory entertainment, that era has since passed and most people born in the '60s or later probably can't comprehend it anyway.
Oh absolutely, don't get me wrong. I listen to, and love, old time radio podcasts (http://relicradio.com/otr/). Can imagine how people flocked to the radio when they were first transmitted. I was referring to audiobooks in particular since the format is different from radio shows. Just considering the length of unabridged audiobooks and you're in a world of hurt trying to fit it into several people's schedules.
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:35 PM   #25
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Don't blame all schools and don't blame all teachers. If you do want to know where to point the finger, I highly recommend reading the book Readicide by Kelly Gallagher. It's not so much what materials they're using, but how they're using them. It also has to do with putting so much extrinsic value on reading that the intrinsic rewards are devalued. (If you have to bribe/reward me to read, reading must suck.)

That said, I'm happy to say that in our school, reading is not associated with nerdiness or coolness (and there even is some overlap in the Venn diagram of nerdy and cool). I credit the lack of AR point goals and the push for pure student choice in independent reading. Sure, some girls are perplexed that they still have only found one or two books that they loved (working on that) and plenty of boys argue that "reading sucks" while trying to hide the fact that they're really saying that "reading is hard so it sucks" (working on that, too). But I smile every time students hope out loud for reading time in class.

Last edited by witeowl; 10-08-2011 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:38 PM   #26
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Why should reading be fun? Why should schools make reading fun? Should math be fun? Physics? Grammar?

I don't think that schools should have the goal of making reading "fun" any more than they should have the goal of making math "fun." Shakespeare is harder to read (especially your first play) than R.L. Stine, but that's not a reason not to teach it. That is a reason *to* teach it. The vast majority of students won't use trig after school either, but it should still be taught.

It was a mistake to teach literature in the vernacular anyway. :-)

As for coolness - with few exceptions, coolness doesn't attach to things, it attaches to people. Get a bunch of popular, cool kids playing frisbee on school grounds and it becomes cool. Get a bunch of unpopular losers playing frisbee on school grounds and it won't be.
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:49 PM   #27
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Quote:
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Why should reading be fun? Why should schools make reading fun? Should math be fun? Physics? Grammar?
I think math is loads of fun, personally. True story.

Now, reading doesn't have to be fun, but it sure can be. And if it can be, then why should we allow well-meaning educational programs to suck all the fun out of it? The reality is that the ability to read impacts success in college and beyond, and the lack of reading is tied to brain health issues in later years.

As I recently pointed out to my students (7th & 8th grade) near the beginning of this year, since you're going to have to read for at least five or six more years, why would you want to hate it? Wouldn't you rather find a way to love it? And to love it, you have to do it often. And to love doing it often, you have to learn to find books you enjoy.

I may not get them all to love reading, but I sure don't want to be saddled with the thought that I taught my students to hate reading.
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Old 10-08-2011, 04:10 PM   #28
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I remember being in school and getting mocked for loving to read. I also remember that were plenty of other kids who loved reading as well. My point is that I'm not sure that it's a recent thing. There will always be readers and non readers. I do agree that the educational system can dampen reading for pleasure and thinking outside the box for that matter. The nuns used to yell at me when they saw I was reading a book they deemed "inappropriate" or "trashy". Being that I'm one stubborn girl, this had the opposite effect.

Look at how sales of ebooks and ereaders have taken off, and they aren't being sold exclusively to adults over the age of 20 either.

As far as being "cool". Well, I think that definition is subjective. To me, someone who doesn't follow the rest of the sheep and does what they enjoy, is cool.

Last edited by voracious71; 10-08-2011 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 10-08-2011, 04:17 PM   #29
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i'm just curious if anyone has any opinions as to why reading is considered the domain of nerds and squares.

i'm of the mind that schools themselves teach a hatred of reading through their use of ponderously outdated materials. i don't care how classic it is, what modern 15 year olds would be thrilled by shakespeare? in my high school honors english class i was subjected to barbara kingsolver and the thrilling adventures of Pigs in Heaven. no we couldn't have anything cool like Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Johnny Got His Gun or anything interesting, we got Macbeth and Raisin in the Sun instead.

i understand that shakespeare is "the guy" but tossing kids without much novel reading experience headfirst into King Lear is akin to tossing someone who doesn't have 2+2 down into a calculus course.

if i wasn't already a heavy book reader going into school i would have left with an utter hatred of the art form.

i'm not saying that schools have to go nuts and bring in harry potter or twilight but i do think that something with even an iota of contemporary mores and language would do wonders towards getting kids into reading.

but thats just my theory.

any other ideas as to why reading isn't considered fun or "cool"?
I think you have an excellent point about education. Like you, I was forced to read some utterly eye-gougingly boring material in school. Watership Down was the bane of my existence in high school. I was a bit more able to get into Shakespeare, just because I'd always read, but it wasn't what I wanted to read at that age.

But as to your general point, I think it depends who you're asking.

There are plenty of intelligent people who aren't "readers," per se. And I do think readers have a habit of discounting people who don't read as a hobby as being less intelligent.

I know plenty of "non-readers" who are of average or above intelligence, and none of them think reading is uncool.

The only people who make it past the age of 10 and think reading is "uncool" are people who intentionally place themselves in a "stupid" social group. Think street culture and macho men. It's a form of anti-intellectualism, and I don't see it present in the average well-adjusted adult.

So, in short, I don't think reading is considered to be "uncool" to most adults, whether they read or not.

As far as children? It's associated with introversion, I suppose. That's a generalization, and there's nothing wrong with introversion, but some children have a habit of being cruel towards anything even slightly different. Children can also be cruel towards other kids who have glasses, braces, poofy hair, are one inch taller or shorter than normal, or have a name. Any name. And god help you if you have an unusual name.

So I hardly think it useful to single out reading as an example of what kids pick on. Kids pick on everything.
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Old 10-08-2011, 04:17 PM   #30
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Coolness is relative. If you thought the kids at the "cool" table really were cool, maybe their opinion mattered. If you thought they were shallow, narcissistic twits, then why would you care what they thought about anything? I find it very useful when someone espouses an opinion that reading (or being well-educated) is uncool; it's a great litmus test to identify a jackass.

Blindly taking the majority's word for the "correct" or "cool" way to live is, IMHO, the fast track to hell. Walden, the unexamined life is not worth living, and all that.
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