Monday, January 31, 2011

Grad Students: Learning to Read Again (via Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Robin Nagle suggests our students take a look at the article "Learning to Read, Again," which was published in The Chronicle of Higher Education this weekend. It begins as follows:

Learning to Read, Again

By Gary Alan Fine

Academics take reading for granted. We learned to read in first grade, and those skills have served us well ever since. Like fish in water, we hardly notice the transparent medium in which we swim.

Writing is a skill that we are continuously taught, a skill that is graded. But reading is different. When academics have trouble understanding texts—and we do—the problem is usually with texts and with our background knowledge, not the act of reading itself. And when we do have a reading problem, we tend to medicalize it as dyslexia, suggesting that proper reading is normal and natural—especially for advanced scholars. That tendency is not particular to higher education, however. After the elementary years, schools pay little attention to the mechanisms of reading. We read as if all texts, even the most complex, were Dick and Jane.

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