How to Get (Young) People Reading

28 11 2018

                                                                                                  PHOTO: lITHUB.COM

WHAT ONE PERSON CAN DO TO GET PEOPLE READING

THE STORY OF ALVIN IRBY AND BARBERSHOP BOOKS

Alvin Irby never wanted to become a teacher, the same profession his mother held for over 30 years in the Little Rock, Arkansas school district in which he grew up. But the adults in Irby’s life saw potential in him that he couldn’t see in himself. “My high school principal, one day during my senior year, he told me, ‘You’re going to be a better principal than I ever was,’” Irby recalls. “And I remember looking at him and saying, ‘Never! I will never go into education!’”

Yet his principal proved prescient. Irby did go into education, and after teaching for several years, he founded Barbershop Books, a reading incentive program that connects young black boys, ages four to eight, to books in male-centered reading spaces. “Barbershop Books’ primary goal is to increase the out-of-school reading time among black boys and to help young black boys identify as readers,” Irby says. “A lot of reading programs are focused on reading skills. That’s not what Barbershop Books is about. Our program is about connecting fun books to a male-centered space, and involving black men in boys’ early reading experiences.”

The seeds for the idea were planted when Irby was a high school sophomore. “In tenth grade, I was in regular English class,” he says. “We were reading short stories and doing spelling lists. This is what we were doing in tenth grade English. And I remember being bored out of my mind.”

So he went to his guidance counselor and requested a more challenging class. “When I switched into this pre-AP class, one of the first things that I noticed when I looked around, or a question that popped in my head, was, ‘Where did all of these white people come from?’” Irby says. “My regular English class was all black. When I switched into this advanced class, all of a sudden, there were white kids everywhere. I didn’t even know they were in the school! And then I started to wonder, why are these classes divided along racial lines like this? What is that about?”

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Is imagination necessary to read?

1 11 2018

                                                                                                           PHOTO: Camistok

CAN IMAGINATION GET IN THE WAY OF READING?

Some time ago, I was confronted with a major aspect of reading, something we aren’t conscious of. A friend of mine – a non-reader, by the way – explained to me how he could never get interested in reading. Simply because he had the worst difficulty ever: in his mind, he couldn’t imagine the universe, the characters’ physical qualities or any room that was being described in a book. Therefore, he eventually just gave up picking up books.

This intrigued me. So I started thinking about it. I’ve read books since I can remember, so I can say that my imagination is “well-exercised,” right? As readers, what can we say about these non-readers and the people who choose watching TV over reading? We say they choose to do so because they’re lazy – they refuse to use their imagination because “it’s so hard.” And that’s what popped into my head when I heard my friend complaining about this. But then, something stopped me.

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Deep-reading Process & Our Brain

30 09 2018

                                                                                              Photo: calmmoment.com

WHAT DOES IMMERSING YOURSELF IN
A BOOK DO TO YOUR BRAIN?

Only connect.

–E.M. Forster

The act of taking on the perspective and feelings of others is one of the most profound, insufficiently heralded contributions of the deep-reading processes. Proust’s description of “that fertile miracle of communication effected in solitude” depicts an intimate emotional dimension within the reading experience: the capacity to communicate and to feel with another without moving an inch out of our private worlds. This capacity imparted by reading—to leave and yet not leave one’s sphere—is what gave the reclusive Emily Dickinson what she called her personal “frigate” to other lives and lands outside her perch above Main Street in Amherst, Massachusetts.

The narrative theologian John S. Dunne described this process of encounter and perspective taking in reading as the act of “passing over,” in which we enter into the feelings, imaginings, and thoughts of others through a particular kind of empathy: “Passing over is never total but is always partial and incomplete. And there is an equal and opposite process of coming back to oneself.” It is a beautifully apt description for how we move from our inherently circumscribed views of the world to enter another’s and return enlarged. In Love’s Mind, his numinous book on contemplation, Dunne expanded Proust’s insight: “That ‘fruitful miracle of a communication effected in solitude’ may be already a kind of learning to love.” Dunne saw the paradox that Proust described within reading—in which communication occurs despite the solitary nature of the reading act—as an unexpected preparation for our efforts to come to know other human beings, understand what they feel, and begin to change our sense of who or what is “other.” For theologians such as John Dunne and writers such as Gish Jen, whose lifework illumines this principle in fiction and nonfiction alike, the act of reading is a special place in which human beings are freed from themselves to pass over to others and, in so doing, learn what it means to be another person with aspirations, doubts, and emotions that they might otherwise never have known.

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Never Alone With Books

30 06 2018

A LIFE OF READING IS NEVER LONELY

Reading is at once a lonely and an intensely sociable act. The writer becomes your ideal companion—interesting, worldly, compassionate, energetic—but only if you stick with him or her for a while, long enough to throw off the chill of isolation and to hear the intelligent voice murmuring in your ear. No wonder Victorian parents used to read out loud to the whole family (a chapter of Dickens a night by the precious light of the single candle); there’s nothing lonely about laughing or crying together—or shrinking back in horror. Even if solitary, the reader’s inner dialogue with the writer—questioning, concurring, wondering, objecting, pitying—fills the empty room under the lamplight with silent discourse and the expression of emotion.

A really lovely reflection on the power of a reading life





On Reading According to a Writer

30 06 2018

EDMUND WHITE: READING IS A PASSPORT
TO THE WORLD

When I was a little child, my sister, who was nearly four years older, was astonished that Icouldn’t read. We were in my mother’s old Ford, driving around the main square of Hyde Park, and my sister pointed to a sign and said, “You honestly can’t read that?”

“No,” I said sullenly. “What does it say?”

“Graeter’s,” she announced triumphantly, the name of Cincinnati’s premier ice creammaker. “Can’t you see that? What does it say to you?” She wasn’t being mean; she was genuinely puzzled. Reading was a magical portal—once you passed through it, you couldn’t even imagine going back.

must have been four. Two years later could read, or at least “sound out” syllables (that was the method then). When I realized that I could interpret these hieroglyphics, I felt sofree, as if a whole new world had been opened to me. Now I could herar a chorus ofvoices, even those coming from other centuries and cultures. I was no longer bound to the squalid here and now, to my mother’s web-spinning of agreeable fantasies or my father’s sudden eruptions of rage, to the sweating summers of that age before airconditioning.

remember toddling into my mother’s room, where she was taking a perfumed bubble bath in the late afternoon. I announced (or maybe thought), “I’m free. I can read.”

Could I really have had such an improbable thought at age six? Or have just told myself that that thought occurred to me then? And yet remember my mother’s sweetness, the good smell, the afternoon sunlight, and my very real feeling of joyful liberation. And,quite concretely, reading has always struck me as a passport to the world, one in which characters are more real than actual people, where values are more intense than in the dim light of reality, where characters fly up into destinies rather than paddle around in ambiguity.

I felt like a blind person who’d just regained his sight. I was no longer a Cincinnatian butrather an earthling. If things were clearly written in English, there was no text that wasoff-limits. I never read the standard children’s classics. No Wind in the Willows. Onlyrecently did I get around to Treasure
Island.

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Students & Reading

13 04 2018

HOW TO GET STUDENTS TO READ MORE

For as long as there have been books people have worried that the death of reading was imminent. We hear it all the timeteens don’t read anymore! But during my eleven years of teaching, I have encountered students who read with more discipline than many of the adults in their lives. I often see students carrying the latest Lamar Giles or A.S. King novel, reading at lunch, and joining our school library’s book club. So why do English teachers and school officials worry about getting students to read more?

ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO DOWNLOAD THE SERIAL READER APP AND USE IT FOR TWENTY MINUTES A DAY

PROVIDE STUDENTS TIME DURING CLASS TO READ

  1. Assign reading time as a bell ringer. 
  2. Set the expectation that when students finish an       assignment early, they should take out a book.

LEAVE OFF AT A CLIFFHANGER

TELL THEM HOW CONTROVERSIAL IT IS

  1. First, I always tell them when a book has been challenged.
  2. Next, I’ll play the concerned adult.

Read further @ BookRiot

 





Tips to your booktime reading

13 04 2018

5 TIPS FOR CALM, COZY, COMFORTING BEDTIME READING

1. KEEP IT SHORT
2. KEEP IT LIGHT
3. HAPPY ENDINGS ONLY
4. MAKE IT A PAGE-TURNER…BUT
NOT TOO MUCH OF ONE
5. KEEP IT FAMILIAR

Read further @ BookRiot