Rescue reading – The Boston Globe

Read this after I posted this morning: Rescue reading – The Boston Globe

Here’s the NEA report that started all the discussion.

Then, I remembered the street banner I saw when I was in Scranton recently about the Scranton Reads! program.

Mostly, I’m even more confused about the definition of words “reading” and “books” and “literacy”.  Text, albeit digital and incorporated into multimedia, will still be a part of the way people get information.  I’m assuming that the test scores that have leveled off come from print-based tests using traditional texts.  I think there may be a little literature out there about how text and images combine to influence reading comprehension.  Could we use webpages as a way to test reading ability?  What would happen if you took the traditional text included on the tests, say an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and made it into a multimedia presentation with links, accompanying images, maybe even a video about Emerson?  Would their interest go up in this famous American writer?  And, more importantly, would their comprehension go up?  Would they actually read the essay or would they spend their time clicking links and watching the video?  And, if they learn something about Emerson from those links and videos, would it matter that they never read the essay?

I suppose, in terms of being able to comprehend Emerson’s text, it would be important.  But, is it the actual text or the ideas that come from it that are important?  As a high school English teacher, I spent a lot of time translating Elizabethan English for my students when we read Shakespeare.  It was really like working in a foreign language class, and we lost a lot of the story in the words.  I found them beautiful; my students found them frustrating. But, they loved the Franco Zefferelli film version and I think they appreciated the story even if they didn’t always follow the dialog.  After all, Shakespeare wrote for a print-illiterate audience, didn’t he?

As always, lots to think about…

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  1. 1 hendron’s digest » Blog Archive » Reading in the Digital Age

    […] recently read a post on Karen Richardson’s blog about questions surrounding reading and literacy. Then I […]




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