professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

The reports of its death are greatly exaggerated

Two recent articles about reading in the popular media seems to contradict one another. One reports on the death of reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/07/21/the-death-of-reading-is-threatening-the-soul/?utm_term=.b41cad8baa53. This one, in particular, decries the fact that we spend so much time on social media when we could be reading. Whiplash! I AM reading when I am on social media. However, I do understand the central argument: if we read in these small increments (tweets, posts, etc), our brain soon becomes wired for shorter bursts of reading. “Here’s the simple truth behind reading a lot of books,” says Quartz: “It’s not that hard. We have all the time we need. The scary part—the part we all ignore—is that we are too addicted, too weak, and too distracted to do what we all know is important.” I am not sure about the addicted, weak, distracted part. I think some of it has to do with TIME. And that is where the second article comes in.

How to read 200 books in a year, https://qz.com/895101/in-the-time-you-spend-on-social-media-each-year-you-could-read-200-books/, talks about something we, as educators, know: it is possible to find time (even in short increments) to read more. Karin Perry and Donalyn Miller and I talk about this often in our presentations. This piece has some great suggestions for us all.

1. Set the goal and think it is possible. I am not worried about 200 books. I tend to think more about setting the time aside to read and then actually following through.
2. Do the math. I use a slightly different set of stats. 15 minutes a day means 1.5 million words a year which nets out at about 20 books a year.
3. Find the time. I ask folks in PD to set calendar time each day for 30 days with alerts that will remind them to stop, drop, and read.

Popular media, though, has largely overlooked other factors such as choice and access and response. But looking at time and habits is a good place to begin.
Tags: books, reading, time
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