Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Notes toward an autobiography by others, part 13

As a grade schooler, I always found read aloud exercises excruciating to sit through. Breezing through a paragraph or two and dropping back into my seat was never a problem for me. Then as now, however, I found the public struggles of other kids forming words such as "education" and "exceedingly" both heartbreaking and a waste of time.

Like Chuck Thompson I found reading aloud in class no sweat. When other kids struggled, sweating out one word after another, halting, hesitating, stumbling, I just wanted to take over. I enjoyed reading aloud. It was an opportunity to perform - with an audience! Besides, I thought surely the kids who were struggling would get more out of the text if it were voiced with life and passion. I know I enjoyed being read aloud to. I was happy that my sixth grade teacher read us books chapter by chapter, and by sixth grade I had no problem reading novels without my lips moving. I thought it great stuff that my mother read aloud the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy to me and my brother even after we both could read it for ourselves (my brother already had).

Listening in class to that struggle to push out words was a torture. If it was a torture to me, I thought it must be painful for them. For whose good was it?

source: Better Off Without 'Em: a Northern manifesto for Southern secession by Chuck Thompson


Nathan said...

I was much the same way, always wondering why the teachers made the kids who couldn't read very well read out loud when I was perfectly willing to do so. In retrospect, I'm sure it was so they could get some needed practice, but I don't know whether it worked.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

I do wonder about the pedagogy.

LouAnne Johnson recommends always asking for volunteers: "if you have shy or timid students who never volunteer, work with them individually until they develop the confidence to read aloud. (Some kids will never volunteer, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t learning — and at least you won’t have made them dread reading.)"

My breezy bout of research didn't find anything else on point.