Reading: Active or Passive?

Hi tutors!

I stepped outside this afternoon to get away from my desk for a minute, and I looked through the offerings on our “Free Books” cart (yes, free books out front of TLC everyday…tell your friends!).  The Longman Writer, Rhetoric and Reader caught my eye (yes, we get an odd assortment of books donated) because the first chapter was titled Becoming a Strong Reader and I thought it worth a look in view of our business here at TLC.

The authors pose the question, “Why…don’t more people delight in reading”?  They suggest that along the road to adulthood, readers lose the joy they felt when they first learned to read, and the act of reading becomes associated with homework, tests and grades–“an anxiety producing chore.” As life gets taken up with the busyness of adult living, reading may be set aside in favor of things requiring less mental effort.  We sit passively in front of television shows with ready-made images flashing across the screen.  “In contrast, it’s almost impossible to remain passive while reading.  Even a slick  best-seller requires that the reader decode, visualize, and interpret what’s on the page.  The more challenging the materials, the more actively involved the reader must be.”

A question I often ask during tutor training is, “Which do you prefer?  Seeing the movie first, or reading the book from which it was adapted”?  Almost always, the answer is to read the book first.  I must agree…the hero on the screen is never as handsome, the heroine as beautiful, the sky as blue or the sea as green as what I see in my mind’s eye when I read a book.  What do you think?

Weekend’s coming up…come get a good book and be active!  lder

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