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[Xmca-l] Re: A Question about Reading and Motivation

My research with adolescents suggests that the joy of reading includes, but
is not limited to the comprehension of information as the responses from
one 8th grade girl illustrates.  She does indeed talk about the pleasure of
learning information that she can put to use: “And then, using it? I guess
I just have a lot of the stuff, just sort of in my brain and then when that
kind of subject comes up, they’ll need the information I have. And then, I
can usually just tell people, ‘Oh, I just read this book, and it turns out
yadda-ya’ or sometimes I won’t even tell them I read the book. I’ll just
say, ‘Did you know?’ or ‘Oh I heard about that.’"

She also talks about the pleasure of entering a story world, which seems to
be something different than the way comprehension is traditionally
understood:  “ I get bored with my life sometimes. Not like super bored,
like midlife crisis bored, but just reality gets boring sometimes and its
cool to think about other stuff. I’m reading *The Clan of the Cave Bear*,
the second one, and it’s cool cuz it’s not everyday life, it’s something I
haven’t experienced, but I’m sort of semi-experiencing it.”

Because she semi-experiences what the characters do, she can use her
reading to think about her life:  “Sometimes when, like, big stuff happens
in my life, I’ll think about what my favorite character would have done,
the ones I admire most. Also, sort of subconscious. I don’t stop and think
about what someone would do, it’s just something that happens. Like, I bet
so-and-so would be really brave about this, or, one of my favorite
characters would have totally sped after this guy. And then sometimes I
follow their example and sometimes I don’t. . . . They all have different
approaches, different ways they approach things, and then I try to apply
that to my life, to see which way works for me. Characters are just ways of
thinking, really.”

Sometimes the pleasure she describes seems to be a more detached
intellectual pleasure:  “I like to think also about what the author could
have written instead of what they did write, like different endings, like a
dramatic part, I’ll stop and think about what could happen next, and then
read and see what does happen. I just finished reading one, and it’s got a
really cliffhanger ending, and I haven’t bought the next book yet, and I’m
coming up with all these ideas about what happened next.”

And finally, she talks about the pleasure she gains from using her reading
to deepen her relationship with others:  “When I take [the books] home,
actually I start reading my book on the car ride back from the book store
most of the time. My dad and I always go to Baja Fresh after the book
store, because it’s right there and pretty good Mexican food. We have an
inside joke, we say,  ‘Are we going to eat like people or are we going to
read and eat at the same time,’ and I say, ‘Dad, shush I’m reading.’”

The young people we talked to were remarkably articulate about the variety
of ways they  took joy from reading.


On Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 9:48 AM, White, Phillip

> Mike, as you've noted, Doug makes several pertinent points - and actually
> they all support the research and theory that is out there - particularly
> the value of supporting the child where the child is at, within a socially
> constructed activity - as well as recognizing that the primary reason for
> reading is comprehension of information - the joy of reading.
> and really, it's not that difficult to arrange - i see it done every day
> in many, many classrooms.  formal schools are not by definition forbidding
> environments... anymore than the range of family environments.  schools
> like families are not self-contained stand-alone environments - rather,
> it's just the opposite.
> if memory serves me correctly, 80 to 85% of children will learn to read
> regardless of how they're taught - though if you want them to learn how to
> read with comprehension upper-most in their minds, then they need to be
> engaged from the very beginning in the practice of reading for meaning /
> comprehension.  otherwise they may read the text with great pronunciation,
> but little comprehension.
> 10 - 15% of children really need one-on-one intensive instruction - much
> like what the late reading researcher Marie Clay developed, where her
> emphasis was on supporting the child to develop internal self-monitoring.
> i haven't seen a "See Spot run" etc. text used within a classroom for 30
> years, perhaps more.  i have heard of such texts being used by schools
> where political conservatism holds sway over the curriculum - right along
> with teaching creationism and rote algorithms in math.  but i've been
> fortunate enough to not be teaching within a politically conservative
> context -  what did the earlier posting on context say?
> Jean Lave sometimes ago pointed out that the theory of formal and informal
> learning as defined by difference is basically flawed - that in fact
> learning is learning - and as she and Wenger pointed out in Situated
> Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation, they are just as distinct
> failures of learning in informal apprenticeships as in, say, formal
> academic learning.
> student failures in schools are not directly cause and effect outcomes.
>  nothing is.
> anyway, my two bits.
> phillip
> Phillip White, PhD
> Urban Community Teacher Education Program
> Site Coordinator
> Montview Elementary, Aurora, CO
> phillip.white@ucdenver.edu
> or
> pawhite@aps.k12.co.us

Michael W. Smith
Professor and Chair
Department of Teaching and Learning
Temple University
College of Education
351 Ritter Hall
1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19122