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

I have some reading to do (and it will take time since I'm very busy on
something else at the moment). Thanks to those who have provided source
material. I have commenced some reading and am not satisfied so far but
don't propose to do nitpicking or "emotionally charged" responses as some
have here.

Here is my brief opinion on what counts as evidence. Evocative personal or
individual stories / narratives and opinions do not count as strong
evidence IMO. A narrative no matter how well told or touching is only a
story about how one or a small group of individuals learnt to become good
readers, who progressed to love literature and use it expertly etc.

Also a theoretical model that appeals strongly to widely recognised
progressive norms (freedom, autonomy, creativity etc.) does not in itself
count as evidence ... unless demonstrated to scale to help large groups of
disadvantaged progress to become literate citizens.

What would count as convincing evidence for me is hard data about a large
group of disadvantaged youngsters (more than one inspirational teacher in a
single classroom) who have significant socio-economic barriers stacked
against them and a way was found for them to turn them from not literate to
literate, in this real, imperfect capitalist world.

What I believe (perhaps wrongly) is that such evidence exists but that some
find it hard to look at because of ideological predispositions, that we all
have filters and blinkers and they operate in devious ways.

I do not regard myself as an expert on reading instruction (and so I do
have a lot of work to do) but I do regard myself as an expert on
constructionism (Papert's and Minsky's version) used in the context of
teaching maths and programming in disadvantaged schools. From that context
I am setting a high bar, as any reformed smoker would.  ie. I have as an
expert constructionist made it work well for the disadvantaged in a single
classroom but failed totally in making it scale.

On Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 5:21 AM, White, Phillip

> Michael - first, many thanks for pointing out that the joy of reading is
> much much more than just reading for information.  i was sloppy in my
> singular use of the term "information", particularly in these days of high
> stakes testing where comprehending "informational texts" is so highly
> regarded.  i was using "information' in the sense of finding out about and
> exploring the world that one is really interested in  -  an yes, i'm
> working with a second grader who values reading as a way to learn
> everything about Justin Bieber.  she's enthralled by the notion of a
> penthouse, where he lives.
> and really, discovering story world of Virginia Woolf's in the early 60's
> saved my ass.
> 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
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu]
> On Behalf Of MICHAEL W SMITH [mwsmith@temple.edu]
> Sent: Monday, September 09, 2013 11:04 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [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.
> Michael
> --
> 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