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Monday, September 9, 2013

Learning to read again

I am relearning the art of reading. It's true. I haven't had to read a text critically for approximately two years. There's a big difference between "reading for fun" and attempting to understand really complicated language that's trying to say something about literature, the universe and everything. I'm not saying the second option isn't fun; it is! Otherwise, there's no way I'd be starting my masters program right now. However, it's a skill that's been a bit rusty for a while, and it's nice to get it out, polish it up and put it to use again.
Writing and reading critically are highly connected. For a couple of my classes, I'm required to write reading responses or summaries of the readings. Writing down in my own words what the article says requires me to simplify, which requires me to understand what I'm reading in the first place. It's quite a helpful exercise and it's definitely not busy work. As I complete the writing assignment, I have the opportunity to actually put my brain to work while I'm reading, rather than just passively consuming. If  I don't take notes while I'm reading and try to "reconstruct" the text, then it's easy to arrive at the end of an article with absolutely no idea what I just "read".
Actively engaging with various texts is a very important part of education. It's a skill that no one is born with, but anyone can learn. Learning to read is fun!