What Child Were You?

The Inter-Galactic Playground has an interesting post about the "Reading Child" vs. the "Child Reader".
The Child Reader is all children who are being "encouraged" to read. These children read artificially in that they read because they are given books. They may do so willingly (and move themselves into my other category) or they may read only the books they are given and never read a book independently after the age of ten. It is these readers who critics discuss when they see children as something different in the market, a group for whom books will be chosen by adults.

Then there is the Reading Child. You know who this child is. If you are reading this blog you probably were one. You were the child who went from non-reader to reader almost over night (this often happens young but I know of one person for whom it happened at the age of ten). You don't remember the stage where you halted over words, because you were too busy falling over the next one. Francis Spufford writes of this brilliantly in The Child that Books Built and incidentally suggests that checking children understand what they read may destroy the pleasure in the act of reading--that reading is not about content but about form.
While I've posted some of my thoughts on that blog, the more I thought about this, the more I wanted to add things.

For example, what about the rush to technology? Is plopping children in front of the computer and encouraging them to blog or play "educational" games going to hinder the developing Reading Child? What about using tv as a babysitter? What about all the learning disabled? How do we work with them so that they don't' become discouraged, when so many have the potential to be Reading Children? And what do we do with all those "potentials" who are in non-reading households? How do we encourage them to buck the surrounding norm and find joy in the pages of "treeware"?

UPDATE: More on this conversation at Over the Sea.

1 comment:

Farah said...

Funnily enough, my brother has turned into a Reading Child despite mild autism. He doesn't read much by my standards, but he reads out of choice as a leisure interest, and if asked what he likes doing in his spare time will include reading on the list.

If my students are anything to go by tho', books have no place in their definition of the word "leisure".