A post I contributed to Reading in the Borderlands
This semester, students in READ 6329.10 were asked to contribute a post to this blog.
By M.R. Graham
We’ve been studying the stark differences between “real” reading and the reading students encounter on standardized tests. The former is exactly what the adjective suggests – real. It is the text students find in fiction, school books, comics, web articles, instruction manuals, menus, and instant messages. They interact with it in real situations, take meaning from it, and pass it back and forth among their peers. It is relevant to their lives. The latter is artificial, limited, used in enforced isolation, devoid of social context, used only in one situation far removed from “real” life. It is meaningless to the students, cannot be used or shared, and so they take no meaning from it.
And yet the latter is used to gauge students’ abilities with the former.
I hadn’t really thought about…
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