Monday, July 24, 2006

Reading

I love hot and humid days. It is a byproduct of having summers off as a kid in New England. Fortunately for me, Crystal Lake was my backyard. I guess I never realized how hot the days actually were until this recent spell of 90+ degree days in Seattle. But while I try to stay cool, which is not going well at all, I came across this wonderful essay.
I teach regular English classes as well as Reading classes. I hear myself saying, "You have to read actively to be successful," so often, I feel it will mark my headstone. The unfortunate part of teaching the skill of reading in the public sector is that we can't afford to give each student an individual book. Yes, there are a few students who already mark up their textbooks, though the content of their insights are better suited for commentary on the recent Clerks II.
The first marked a textbook or personal novel in college. I remember how naughty I felt, even though the professors had told us to do it. I would love for every one of my students to have the ability to mark up their readings. It really is an essential skill when reading academically. In fact, even the novels that I read for pleasure are peppered with my remarks of intrigue, confusion, and agreeance. Those lines that are poetic or honest or real have my precise underlining beneath them. Lines like:
I never killed anybody and I never developed an intense level of hatred for the enemy. Because my war ended before I ever put on a uniform; I was on active duty all my time at school; I killed my enemy there....All of them, all exept Phineas, constructed at infinite cost to themselves these Maginot Lines against this enemy they thought they saw across the frontier, this enemy who never attacked that way--if he ever attacked at all; if he was indeed the enemy (A Separate Peace).

or...

"When a man leaves home, he leaves behind some scrap of his heart. Is it not so, Godric?" I thought of Burcewen waiting with her basket in the rain and how I kissed my father's head, and nodded yes. "It's the same with a place a man is going to," he said. "Only then he sends a scrap of his heart ahead." ...He said, "Godric, this much at least I know for sure. Until you reach it, every other place you find will fret you like a cage." (Godric)

To read is to understand yourself. It is to find what you have been longing for or what you have been in need of knowing. If only I could get that through to the i-media generation.

1 Comments:

At 11:10 AM , Blogger booklogged said...

I have great admiration for English teachers and I applaud your efforts in encouraging reading. I was wondering if I could use part of the last paragraph and put it as a quote on the sidebar of my blog?

 

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