Why is Reading Important?

The first thing students always want to know is why they need to learn something.  Why is this relevant to them?

Regarding “Reading,” which I have taught from 2nd grade all the way up to the post high school level, here is what I have come up with when I am asked, “Why is Reading important?”

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Reading is most important because we think with words.

Think about it!

Reading is most important because we think in words.

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Our thoughts are generally in our primary language.

Our knowledge is stored in our brains in this language as well.

Almost everything we think about and know is represented by words, or pictures, in our brain.

We do store some memories as smells, as tastes, as sounds, as touches and by emotions as well, but even these sensory memories are then categorized or defined with words.

So…, the better our vocabulary, which is developed through reading and communication with others, the better and more diverse our thought processes can be.

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Additionally, Reading is important because as long as you can read you don’t have to depend on anyone else to learn.

Learning about anything, or how to do anything, is as easy as looking it up on the internet or stopping by a library.

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Reading also helps develop our imagination and thinking processes.  TV, videos, and computer games all have their place, but these are different forms of amusement and entertainment that show us pictures of other people’s imagination and thought.

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Reading and writing are connected.  Typically, the more you read the better the writer you’ll be.

On a more basic level, Reading is important to be able to function day to day.  This includes being able to read warning signs, road signs, forms that need to be filled-out, instructions for medication, cooking, and much more.

“A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.” – Unknown

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All too often these days, people are not given the opportunity to just stop and think.  We are bombarded with visual and audio overload at every turn.

Taking time to read allows us to think, to consider, to conceptualize, as opposed to just receiving external input.

“Reading forces you to be quiet in a world that no longer allows time for that. – Mr. Erickson

“A little Reading is all the therapy a person needs sometimes. – Unknown

 

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The question isn’t “are you intelligent?”  It’s “how are you “intelligent?”

The theory of multiple intelligences was started back in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard University.

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He felt that the older beliefs about intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, were not really fair and far too limited.

Instead, Dr. Gardner proposed eight different types of intelligences to represent a wider range of interests in children and adults. These intelligences are:

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Our schools typically focus most of their attention on linguistic (reading and writing) and mathematical intelligence.  For students who happen to be naturally talented in these areas, school is fun because they are successful.  For those of us who are more talented in other areas, school can be frustrating, difficult and/or boring.

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It would be nice if we could place equal attention on individuals who show gifts in the other intelligences: the artists, architects, tradespeople, musicians, naturalists (nature, animals and or plants), designers, dancers, therapists, salespeople, entrepreneurs, and many others who enrich the world in which we live…, but that just is not the case.

Unfortunately, many students who have these gifts don’t receive much reinforcement or encouragement in school.  Many of these students, in fact, end up being labeled “learning disabled,” having “ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,” or simple as underachievers, when their unique ways of thinking and learning aren’t addressed by a heavily tilted reading/writing and mathematical curriculum and classroom.

Every teacher out there has been made aware of the theory of multiple intelligences.  But the theory of multiple intelligences and how we address multiple intelligences does not translate well when we bump up against everyday reality, which has limited money, limited time, limited teacher resources, and large class sizes.

The challenge is to change our educational way of doing things so that each child has the opportunity to learn in ways that go along with their unique minds, ways of thinking, talents and interests.

The I.Q. test was developed in 1900 by a French psychologist, Alfred Binet.  The “I.Q” test does have some value, but it does not take into account many things regarding intelligence and talents that are not easily quantifiable.

As far as our schools are concerned, “Just because everyone is ‘treated the same’ does not mean ‘everyone is being treated fairly.’”

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(“Ctrl” and click on the following websites to access them.)

You can learn more about multiple intelligences and Howard Gardner at his website: http://www.howardgardner.com/

Here is a website where you can take your own multiple intelligences assessment: www.mypersonality.info

 

NOTE:  If you’re not already “following” me and you liked my blog(s) today, please scroll down to the bottom of this site and click the “Follow” button.  That’ll keep you up to date on all of my latest posts.

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