Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Monkey Madness Tuesday *cough*: How to be a better reader

I've been asked to visit a classroom at a local community classroom and not only talk about the writing/revision process, but how to also become a better reader and the importance of reading outside of social media.

The class is a pre-college level reading and English class. The class consists of students of varying abilities and experience. Three of the students are second-language students. Needless to say, I'm nervous. I can't get my own daughter to read much, how am I going to convince a bunch of 18 +'s?

I thought I would start with a few of the benefits of reading.

  • Reading = success. There's been studies done on this. People that read get better do better in school and in life.
  • Reading helps to improve your vocabulary and language skills. The more we read, the more we continue to learn new words, idioms, phrases, and how to use them.
  • Reading makes you more knowledgeable. There is a quote from Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of Israel Shimon Peres. "To read is like going to swim in a sea of wisdom, endlessly fascinating. And there are so many wise people all over the world throughout history, and you can have it for free, for nothing." We have unlimited sources of knowledge at our fingertips. All it takes it opening the cover of a book.
  • Probably the most important, reading makes you smarter. Your brain needs to work out just like any other muscle in your body to stay fit. When you read, you're forcing your brain cells to engage in activity as your mind paints images about the story you're reading.

Of course, reading can be daunting if you don't find the right books. I said earlier, Thing One says she does not like to read. That's not exactly true. She needs the right books. I gave her 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott, and she devoured them.

  • I think getting recommendations from friends, family, and librarians is a great way to get started.
  • I'm also going to suggest they think about the kind of movies they like, and find books that are similar.
  • Trying different genres until you find one that appeals to you is also a great way to find what your likes and dislikes are.

Some people get frustrated if they don't understand words or the story in general. Having a dictionary handy is a great idea.

I'm going to remind them that reading is inexpensive and portable, and is as accessible as ever with the technology we have these days.

What do you think? Any other ideas?

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My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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