Friday, May 1, 2009

Should professors edit their methods of teaching to reverse the recent decline in reading?

claim: We can improve our nation's decline in reading by altering our teaching methods.

Giving students the option of what they want to read is a key factor into increasing the amount of reading done by students on their own and for school. Ruth Cox Clark, an associate professor in the department of library science & Instructional Technology at East Carolina University can attest to the limited variety and amount of books on classroom reading lists. “By being given limited set of titles, categorized by reading levels, which can vary greatly from one source to another, the students lose out on the wonderful, and in my opinion, necessary experience of browsing through libraries and bookstores to self select books that appeal to them for whatever reason” (Clark). Limiting a student’s reading list limits their interest. Without having the option to read a certain book students feel more obligated to read than motivated. This becomes more apparent later in secondary schools. At a young age children are appraised for reading anything they pick up, but with assigned readings students tend to lose the enjoyable part of reading. Lois Stover, a national expert on young adult literature and the Chair of the Education Department, agrees that “children who loved reading in elementary school learn…to hate it as they enter junior high or middle school”. By expanding the list of what a student can read, they will once again “remember the delight of entering a book and finding ourselves mirrored there…that encourages such identification” (Stover). Without the ability to explore your own interests in books you cannot fully appreciate the value of reading.

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