Crossing Over: Teaching Meaning-Centered Secondary English Language Arts

By Harold M. Foster | Go to book overview

chapter ONE
Build A Bridge

Introduction
I see a chasm; a great divide. On one side of this stands the old world, the world where the only real means of knowing came from books and newspapers and magazines. On the other is a new world, the world we all live in now where books exist but are only one of many forms of communication, and for many people, not the most important form.The old literacy, words and print, has a lot of competition now. Reading, always an acquired taste, is now endangered. Did English teachers 10 or 20 years ago need a rationale as to why reading and writing should exist? No. But now we do, and here it is:
Reading is the most cognitive communication medium, perhaps the only way to learn difficult ideas and as a result the only way to become formally educated.
Reading creates empathy, understanding, and compassion.
Reading gives stories but allows readers to create the images that come with the stories. Imagination plays a huge part in reading, more so than in most other media.
Reading is satisfying; it is a creative act that allows a person to discover meaning in the complex symbol system of language.
Reading is the most controllable medium, the one that is easiest to encounter at a pace you desire, the medium that is the easiest to stop and repeat, skip or skim, or put down or pick up.
Reading is sensuous; books smell and feel a certain way; there is satisfaction in turning pages, marking spots, and looking at covers.

-5-

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Crossing Over: Teaching Meaning-Centered Secondary English Language Arts
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