In the Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, he explains why some highly educated folks read very little, and some with barely any education read a lot! So It’s not always a literacy problem. He says it may be a math problem…
Why we read more or less! (There is a simple formula called Fraction of Selection!)
When this formula is applied to area of reading for pleasure, it explains the basic problem, it has to do with the reward that some folks get from reading.
Pleasure is at the top. But there are many reasons why people read. Some people like to read anything that allows them to escape somewhere; others only like to read to get knowledge of something; and some like to read so they can obtain degrees or certificates from it-they like the fame or influence it gives with their colleagues, and yet for others, they just want more money. But anyone who reads expects to get something from it or they wouldn’t do it.
At the bottom of the equation is the distractions—this is the major problem for some. TV, Iphones, video games, emails, chaos at home, or school.
For some, there is a lack of print materials—no newspapers, magazines, or lack of time—working too much, raising kids, rushing to too many sports games or to the mall, or there is just too much homework.
(For some people, it’s not being able to read well—this was me.)
Other people are surrounded by folks who are negative about school and reading.
And yet, some folks just can’t find a quiet space at home—too much noise or too many tests or demands at schools.
All these issues play a part in how often a proficient reader actually reads.
If you, the parent, give your child(ren) strong rewards and lower the difficulties, you will see them reading more often.
And the more rewards a kid gets from reading, the higher the chances for success in school. Those who read the most are the best readers!
I’m grateful that I was able to figure out what my gap was and become a proficient reader. And I’m proud to say that Usborne Books & More has since helped tens of thousands of people do the same.
So what’s this got to do with you?
If you’re like most parents, who is too busy to pick up a book and read, it is possible that your kids too will be too busy to pick up a book and read. And what I am about to share can help you find a love for reading.
Japan still produces the best readers in the world. Not long ago, Isaac had a couple of Japanese friends. And the mommas were proud of their girls being labeled gifted and talented. And I have had several friends who are Japanese, and can confirm, that Japanese people read a lot of print materials, and as stated by Jim Trelease, “[they] were the leader in the world in newspaper readership (64% of Japanese adults read a daily paper, compared to 23% in the U.S…until the 1990s.”
Why did it drop, you may ask?—distractions. The more distractions confronting a nation, family, or class, the less reading they will do. If you really want more time to read, then you better take care to minimize the distractions. Don’t go to mall unless you must, minimize the time you spend online, or on the t.v. or playing video games—each of these call for our attention or we multitask around it.
Not to mention these same distractions continue to plague us in America.
Years ago, before attempted to try to get accepted into law school, I used to stop to concentrate on each word, sounding it out and then searching for meaning…fluency was lost along with the meaning. It was so exhausting to read!
Like so many others, I was functionally illiterate. I completed my bachelors degree but was unable to fully understand how to use my degree. So tried law school. Thinking to myself that if I can go to law school…I’d be a better communicator, reader, and writer. I took the LSAT 3x’s and failed to get a competitive score—170. My score put me in competition with other minorities: Hispanics, blacks, and native Americans. And poor white people. Most of these people were using “affirmative action laws.”
This is what I want to make clear, I had a gap in reading comprehension.
I was a poor reader.
- Spending a year studying for the LSAT, spending an hour a day on reading comprehension increased the number of words in my vocabulary and quickly increased my proficiency in reading.
- Everything is figeroutable as my friend, Marie said.
- I was accepted into the nonlawyering program at the law school here in my state, but this only caused me more grief. I was sitting in the law school library crying my eyes out. I deserved to be a law student as much as anyone in there. And what more, I knew I would be a great lawyer because I love being creative and I love being in business for myself. I wanted to be in the business of law and serve people through it.
- And what I figured out was, that if I apply the same method of learning the law students did to the paralegal program at the community college level, I would know how to think like a lawyer and know more about the business of law than the law students and paralegals combined.
- With that I finished the nonlawyering program with a certificate, and enrolled in the paralegal school
I did my best learning ever in the paralegal program.
I become such an efficient learner and what’s most important my vocabulary grew by leaps and bounds. I read like a voracious reader.
I believe I was “boot-strapped” and I was struggling with phonological decoding skills and needed explicit instruction to become proficient–that instruction came when I studied for the LSAT. This allowed me and encouraged me to engage in more reading behavior, specifically dealing with legal reading of cases and analyzing those cases. I found pleasure in reading legal briefs.
P.S. stay-tuned for what about summer reading programs?….