“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” -Sir Richard Steele.
My outlook on education and personal experiences in reading and writing.
It is hard to say how I learned to read and write. I remember when I was little my mom told me she did not believe in the way teachers were teaching kids and she made me do Phonics. Till this day I totally do not fully understand what she meant, but I remember phonetically spelling words out with her. I remember the day I sounded out and spelled ‘elephant’ all by myself. I know my twin sister and I would take turns reading to each other and she picked up on reading faster then I did; she would help me sound out words and pronounce them. Writing is a different subject. I remember learning how to write the alphabet in little school and learning how to write papers, but I was never really taught grammar. I had back surgery my 6th grade year and was out of school for a very long time. They let me skip the whole unit on grammar- I know I missed something important! Then I moved from Illinois to Colorado- where they seemed further along educationally then my former school. So, now I am learning grammar in college in my English language for teachers course. I actually feel like some students are in my same boat they just are not bold enough to admit it.
Like I mentioned above, my school experiences with reading and writing were horrible to say the least. I remember having to popcorn read in class and my teacher told us to read fast and if we paused we could not go to recess. I would have a hard time with words and I know I pronounced some things wrong, but to the teacher, it was not important to correct me. Till this day I still say ‘Messico’ instead of ‘Mexico’. I broke the habit of saying ‘BAG-el’ instead of ‘BAY-gel’- so that is a plus! I never felt that my teachers cared much so throughout school I would write when I had to write and read when I had to read. That is it. It was not till I moved here in eighth grade that I remotely felt reading and writing were important. I felt everyone around me was more literate then I was and I was ashamed and embarrassed. Reading and writing slowly started to grow on me and even though I do not feel like I got the proper base line of rules from school- I understand why reading and writing are important now; and I want to help kids realize in the beginning it is important so they do not go through life like I did.
And on the subject of reading, I read more then some and less then most. I wish I read more, but I always feel I am too busy, I need to sleep, and I just read all those academic books. Once I get past all the excuses in my head and actually pick up a book, I cannot stop reading. I love putting myself in the book and becoming a different person. I even find myself mimicking what the character I am relating to does. If she is biting her lip, I will be acting it out as she does it.
You will usually find me reading blogs and short stories, my favorite short story being ‘The Birthmark’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is compact with everything a book has- just takes less time to read and it is nice knowing that I can read a whole story in less then an hour. I have not read a book that I hated, I have just read books I would not read again. I am currently reading Fifty Shades of Gray, let me tell you- it might be saucy, but it is seriously lacking in developing a sufficient story. Overall, you will find me reading realistic fiction and poetry.
When I am not reading fiction or poetry I am usually reading quotes. One that strikes me is, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” -Sir Richard Steele. That is how I feel about reading. It strengthens and expands your brain. After you can read, you can write-which I believe is a more beautiful concept then reading. When you write, it is all your thoughts and knowledge you have gathered. Your voice.
Both reading and writing are important and I strongly believe you cannot do one without the other. I have never met a writer who has not loved to read. Reading engages the brain and creates worlds and opens doors you never thought possible. When you have read a plethora of books in your lifetime, your writing will be stronger. Let’s put it this way: if a child lived its whole life in darkness it could never write a story beyond the five senses of what it is to have lived in that darkness. I remember before I started reading religiously; my 8th grade teacher made us write our own fictional story. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done even till this day. I did not have a lot of prior knowledge on how to write or how books flow. I could not for the life of me make original characters up in my head or create an original plot line because I was an inexperienced reader.
In my future classroom, whether my students like it or not, they will have to read a book and then write a paper on it. They will need sufficient literacy skills to write a well developed paper and they will need to know literacy components like phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension. Literacy is especially important to English education because kids do not just write in English class. They will have to write lab reports and read math problems. Students read and write in every class they will ever take. I say this humbly, but literacy skills are learned in English class, and it makes me feel like the weight of the students’ future is on my shoulders. If I cannot teach them how to read and write then it is doubtful they will succeed in other academic classes.
Thank you for reading!