Thursday, July 14, 2016
Living in Context
Reading skills in America have been in decline for a long time. We call people "literate" if they can sound out the words on a page, but reading comprehension is more than that. Putting the words into context is something else.
Many public schools have taken literature out of the curriculum. Students are required to read fewer novels. They are required to read more literal things. As a result, they are not attuned to nuances. Literary devices are often lost on them. The complexity of reading a textured piece of writing--and of rereading it to harvest the richer fruits--has been de-centered.
What schools teach more of now is writing. And it is writing of the most literal kind.
How could it not be. Without reading, without context, it is writing in a vacuum.
The rise of Facebook. The rise of Twitter. The rise of Snapchat.
There is more reason to read than ever before. The numbers of people who can sound out the words is on the rise.
But there must be some relationship between reading in context and living in context, surely.
Perhaps, though, theirs is a more genuine identity. Who's to judge. I'm just saying. . . .