Young people don’t read

“The average person between ages 15 and 24 spends 2 to 2 1/2 hours a day watching TV and 7 minutes reading”, according to a report in the US. If this is so, it is a serious problem. I believe that strong reading skills are the most important skills to have in the modern information age, for the individual, and therefore for the society as a whole.

The other day, in Quebec, a 6 year child was sent home from school for bringing his sandwich in a plastic bag. This was considered not “green” enough for the teachers in charge of green ideology at the school he attended. If teachers spent less time trying to foist their own half-baked ideas onto defenseless children, and, instead, let them read in class, we would all be better off, the kids and society.

Kids will read better if they read more. What they need in class is the time to read, the encouragement, and freedom to choose what to read, and freedom from teachers asking them to analyze or answer questions about what they are reading – no critical thinking, no teaching “higher order thinking”, or teaching how to infer meaning or other so called pre-reading and post-reading skills, just plain letting kids read. If kids won’t read on their own (7 minutes a day for Pete’s sake), let them read in the classroom, at least one hour a day. It will probably be more useful than listening to the teacher.

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