This week in my education class the Politics of Reading we started talking about the history of how reading has been taught. Being a history major I found this topic really interesting. I think it is always nice to look at the past and see how things have evolved over time. It has been become clear to me that teaching reading is much more complicated then I originally thought. The education system has made some mistake with this topic but that now makes sense to me because of how difficult it is. Each child learns to read differently, and all come into the classroom at different levels. It now seems kind of insane to me that a teacher is supposed to teach 30 different kids all at different places.
The most interesting time period/reading method to me was the Era of Socio-Cultural learning. With this technique it recognizes that in order for students to be engaged in reading, what and how they are taught needs to connect to their history and culture. Connecting theit social environment to reading material makes a lot of sense. A child needs to be able to care about what they are reading. We discussed early periods of reading when the Dick and Jane books were popular. These were the very short books that did not really have any plot and just repeated the same vocabulary over and over. These books were clearly used to teach certain words, but they were also extremely boring. I know that I don’t care about what those types of books say, so why should I expect students to care about those.
Learning about why students care more about books that relate to their lives really resonates with me. When I was a kid, I truly hated reading. I can remember literally battle with my mom, and trying to bribe my why out of it. After this discussion and looking back it makes more sense. I did not care about the books I was supposed to read. I think I am the type of person who needs to understand the purpose of why I am supposed to be doing something. Reading a book that said: the cat sat, the cat sat on a mat and so on seemed pointless. It was not until I was in middle school that I started to enjoy reading. My seventh grade English teacher Mr. Pietrus suggested books that were amazing. They were just books that had great stories, that kept me engaged. I do not think any of them were literary classics, but to me they were. It was the first time I cared about books, and the first time I understood the point to reading. Books and reading in general are amazing because they can transport you to new places, experiences, and adventures you could not have in real life. They can be an escape from reality. I think it just takes good stories to get kids to care about reading. I know for me at least that’s all it took.