When we fail as readers, we fail as writers

music reading When we fail as readers, we fail as writers

I read this article in the NY TImes this week about e-books adding music to the “experience.” Champions of this technology justify it by saying it adds to the experience, enhances imagination, meets readers where they are, blah, blah, blah.

I have not yet worked out all the feelings I have about this, but I am down to one thing: Parents and teachers need to teach young readers how to hear the sounds that words on the page produce through the ear of their own imagination. Readers need to be able to create the characters and the settings in their minds through imagination. They need to learn how the cadence, rhythm and rhyme of the words produces the “soundtrack” that propels the reader through the book.

I’m often amazed at how some teachers and parents “give in” to their students by rationalizing they are “meeting the students where they are” by allowing them to choose the works they will read and by allowing the gamification of the skill of reading. Certainly you don’t start a young reader with the complete works of Shakespeare but you don’t dumb down the process either. All learning is gained through frustration. The harder the frustration, the deeper the learning. Young readers need guides and a hand to help them along, not someone who removes barriers or court jesters to provide entertainment along the way.

Young readers need teachers and parents to show them how to unlock and develop imagination that produces original human thought and kindles the spark that will create the next Rainbow Connection.

When we give up our imagination as readers, we willfully discard the skills needed to be writers. This I know for certain.

*Check out Dani Shapiro’s blog post for additional inspiration.

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About Rufus Dogg

I'm a dog who writes a blog. It is not a pet blog. It is a real blog that talks about real ideas. No, really. I do my own writing, but I have a really, really cool editor who overlooks the fact that I can't really hit the space-bar key cause I don't have thumbs. I talk about everything from politics to social issues to just rambling about local problems. And, sometimes I just talk about nothing in particular. Google+
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4 Responses to When we fail as readers, we fail as writers

  1. Ann Porter says:

    I agree. Children are too distracted today and should we should help fuel their creativity and imagination.

  2. James Dibben says:

    During my English class last week we had to interview each other as an ice breaker. Among the questions was, “What is your favorite book?”.

    The (guy, boy, man, whatever) I interviewed said that he doesn’t read and doesn’t have a favorite book. He is eighteen and just graduated high school last spring.

    I wasn’t a reader at his age either but I had read a few books and would have come up with something better than his answer. Really, he should have been too ashamed to have answered the question this way. When I introduced him to the class I just challenged us all to help him find his favorite book this year.

    He is a big gamer and our instructor said to not be surprised to find he’s a better writer than we realize. She said that gamer’s are decent readers because many games do have a lot of reading in them. She was trying to be polite, I’m sure.

    A sound track for a book? Sounds like a gimmick to me.

    • Rufus Dogg says:

      And he will be enabled by every TA and professor throughout his college career when he should be challenged to read. Not reading in college is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. He should not be in college, but he will be for the first two years at least because that is how schools now make their money.

      Gaming is not a substitute for reading. It provides the user with external stimulation that should be created by imagination and projected outward. It is lazy.