Define Reading…

“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.”
– Frank Serafini

if we take this quote to be true, and given all my education as a student and a teacher i do believe it to be true, why then, are we struggling to read, why is finding the “right” book so difficult? Does learning to love reading really just involve finding a genre you love or an author who speaks to you? I’m not so sure. Though i personally love to read, and have ever since i was a child, i don’t read in the same ways that i used to.

Though i love novels, i simply do not have the time to read in long chunks like i used to when i was a kid. So i don’t read many novels anymore. Though i’m assigned a lot of reading from textbooks, articles, journals, and novels in my college English and Education courses, i certainly don’t read most if any of them in a given week. Though i can say that i do love reading, i simply don’t do it anymore, or at least not in the ways people expect me to.

I read a lot of articles now. Scrolling though social media on my phone links me to a number of interesting, thought-provoking, educational, and entertaining articles. I read and learn about new developments in science, or news from around the world, a story about a new fashion trend, or a cool new product that just came out. I read a lot of personal messages. Texting, chats, IMing, status posts, these are all things i read constantly, day in and day out.

So am i a reader? i think it would be ridiculous to say that i’m not, but am i reading what other people consider to be “real” reading? It depends. Are we stuck in the 18th century, where novels and newspaper are the only available forms of mass communication? Or are we in the 21st century, where reading is more than Charles Dickens and Shakespeare? Though we may not read as many novels as a society, we certainly watch more movies, tv shows, and online video than we ever have before. And isn’t that reading in it’s own way? You can still analyze character growth, plot developments, setting, tone, etc. it’s just spoken instead of written down.

So is reading important? Yes. Is it important to be passionate about reading? Yes. Is it important for me as a teacher to model reading and show passion for reading and writing? Yes. Do we need to consider our changing society and values when we consider the definition of reading? Absolutely. We have changed, our world has changed, we move at a faster pace now. Though it is still valuable to slow down and take the time to read a novel, you are not a failure or “not a real reader” if you don’t pick up a novel once in while. Reading is so much more than novels and text on the physical page. It is important to consider the range of reading and the different ways that one can learn how to and appreciate reading and writing.

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