Saturday, January 17, 2015

Some Thoughts to Start 2015

Great literature doesn’t tell us how to act, or what to think, or whom to become. Rather, great literature offers us choices and insights into how we might act, who we might become, and what we might think. The ambiguity inherent in great literature should not be seen as a hurdle to overcome, but as an opportunity for disrupting our traditional and stereotypical ways of thinking. By tolerating the ambiguity inherent in quality literature, we postpone or suspend the closure of our thinking, providing time and space for considering new and alternative ways of thinking.

The most important thing readers should get from reading a book is the desire to read another. As teacher, we cannot allow school to squash this desire. By not allowing readers to ever choose what they read, by making them do mindless activities after they finish reading, and by giving them quizzes in the name of comprehension assessment, we drive the desire to become a reader further and further underground. The experiences readers have in our schools need to enhance their sense of wonder, tickle their imaginations, and help them learn to dwell in stories and to revel in their adventures.    


Susan Verdi said...

I love this quote from your post: "The most important thing readers should get from reading a book is the desire to read another." We need to create conditions for thriving reading communities in our classrooms. Book talks, recommendations, and reviews are authentic ways to inspire reading. Susan Verdi

Dr. Frank Serafini said...

Thanks for the comment. I am working on my resources page to support the new book when it is released in March.

Unknown said...

Do you know what, Frank? As I was reading the last two posts, I was struck by how much they were related.

As teachers of literacy, we are really facilitators of a democratic society.

When we tallk about books and question with a critical eye, we are also revealing that people have motivations, points of view and beliefs that have lead them to write what they do.

I teach 5 year olds and when I introduce information books to the children (I don't call them 'non-fiction' for a reason) I use the 'think-aloud' strategy to question who wrote the book and if what I'm reading is 'true'? I invite the children in my class to ask questions about what they read, to challenge stereotypes and to be active, critical evaluators of the print they come across - or that they produce.

I can't imagine working in a school, or a system which does not have as it's aim to allow - and encourage- children to be critical evaluators of the world around them.

As teachers, we have to have the pedagogical armour to stand up to
anything that leads children into the mindless path of regurgitating rather than creating and imagining.

Dr. Frank Serafini said...

Rebecca, thanks for the response. I agree completely. It is not just about facts, it's about HOW we know things and how we hold our knowledge. If we cannot question things, we have no democracy. Your students are very lucky to be able to spend time with you. Hope to see you again.