Wednesday, January 20, 2010

OH MY...and Active Reading Continued

Before I go any further with suggestions, I have a huge concern. Tucked neatly in the center of the front section of the Austin newspaper today was an article (not a huge one, by the way) about how the average child/teenager is spending over 6 hours a day (outside of school) on some sort of electronic device.

Remember, I am not on a soap box here. My children have a Wii and a DS, and they access the computer too...BUT...they are regulated.

I am so glad technology is has enabled our society to do things only dreamed possible in past years. BUT...we are losing our living, in some senses. Or maybe we are changing our definition of "living."

I am of the stance that our world is a beautiful playground, and we need to enjoy and savor it. Those of you who know me, know that I have survived brain tumor surgery and two bouts of, time, is precious. "Living" is contact with others. Human contact. It's breathing the air around you, and not avoiding quiet.

In this article, kids reported that they are "bored" most of the time and that is why they do it. Hmm...too much effort to actually GO somewhere, WITH someone, and TALK?????? Too difficult to LOOK AROUND, and APPRECIATE??? JUST BE????

Here's how I think that relates to what I have been saying. Kids, people, are getting complacent. They don't want to exert too much, give too much. They want it easy, and fast, and delivered to them at the couch, if possible.

So that is why it is crucial to teach kids that reading is actually an active experience. If not, they will lull into the complacent attitude and say "it's boring." They haven't brought anything to the table.

My next lesson in active reading is to actually teach them to treat books like treasures. Think of them as important as that electronic device that they would "die" if they lost.

They need to take care of books. Have a special spot for them. Know where they are. If they adopt the attitude that books are treasures, they will value them.

Don't allow them to cram them in their backpacks, buried deep in the abyss. I always made my kids in my classes special drawstring bags to carry separately. They adored them. Now I just buy those sport drawstring nylon bags which the boys think are cool, and they keep their books dry and safe.

Step one to being active? VALUE books. It is a value that can be, and should be, taught to each and every child.

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