What exactly is reading?

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Judy
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Post by Judy » Sun Feb 26, 2006 1:15 am

I hated every book we were made to read in secondary school:
I was exactly the same, in spite of being a voracious reader outside the classroom - I even managed to wangle stays in the school infirmary so that I could access more of its collection of Georgette Heyers!

Doesn't say much for the way we were taught! But I somehow got quite a good mark for O level English Lit., in spite of never actually reading more than the odd snippet of Jane Eyre and Macbeth, which were the set books!

As far as comics are concerned, nobody else seems to have mentioned the female version of 'Eagle', which was called 'Girl'. It was the highlight of my week for a couple of years and I kept all the copies to read and read again!

FEtutor
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Post by FEtutor » Sun Feb 26, 2006 2:23 am

Besides the public libraries, does anyone else remember when Boots (the Chemist) had lending libraries in the high street- I'm sure they did.

And Richmal Compton and the Just William books just cannot go unmentioned or unpraised, and -tho not in the same league- the Chalet School series. Glad I'm not the only one to own up to Georgette Heyer.

I think I do remember Girl, but think I graduated from the Beano (never Dandy) to Girl's Crystal.
FEtutor

elsy
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Post by elsy » Sun Feb 26, 2006 12:33 pm

I knew I'd read more than I could remember!

We had a 'Thrift' shop down the road, just past the library, and I used to buy and resell second hand books there. I found the rest of the Narnia books (Y3 teacher had read us the 'The Lion...') there. Also a 'Susan' series - 'Susan pulls the Strings' et al about a London family. Their lifestyle was completely alien to me but I enjoyed their adventures. Lots of the books were old and I found several school stories from the 40s and 50s.

'What Katy Did', 'What Katy Did at School'. We still have the latter. It is minus its turquoise hard back front cover, published by the Chldren's Press London and Glasgow, cost me one shilling and is date stamped 17/4/64.

I used to get books from W H Smith with my 5 shilling Christmas book token and remember 'Jean Tours a Hospital' and 'Ballet for Laura'. I had a voracious Georgette Heyer phase in my teens (mum, my sister and I all used to read them from the library at the same time) and I had a short spell of Maurice Druon in translation (French historical novels).

BTW I haven't written off the classics. I have an old sh copy of Lorna Doone which I intend to read one day!

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Susan Godsland
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Post by Susan Godsland » Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:01 pm

JAC wrote:
As well as Bunty there was a comic called Judy and Princess
Yes, I had Princess magazine too! As a teenager I graduated to Petticoat magazine.

Books I can remember enjoying:

All the Enid Blyton 'Adventure' series -Mountain of Adventure, River of Adventure, Island of Adventure...... and EB's Cherry Tree Farm

Noel Streatfield 'White Boots'

George MacDonald "The Princess and the Goblin," and "The Princess and Curdie

http://www.pagebypagebooks.com/George_M ... he_Goblin/
http://www.pagebypagebooks.com/George_M ... nd_Curdie/

Elizabeth Goudge 'Little White Horse' and ''Green Dolphin Street''

Paul Gallico 'Jennie'

Jean Webster 'Daddy Long Legs'

I loved Georgette Heyer's books 8)

elsy
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Post by elsy » Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:47 pm

Susan Godsland wrote:
Yes, I had Princess magazine too! As a teenager I graduated to Petticoat magazine.
I had a letter published in 'Romeo' magazine.

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maizie
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Post by maizie » Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:52 pm

My goodness, this thread is getting scary!

All the Narnia books (my sister still has the original hardbacks, bought in the 50s)

Enid Blyton's Adventure series, Monica Edwards, Kenneth Graeme, Rudyard Kipling, all the 'Katy' books, Little Women etc. Plus anything in my parents' bookshelves - Agatha Christie, Marjorie Allingham, Dorothy Sayers, Asimov, John Wyndham, Sterne, Smollett, Austen, Dickens.........

And, of course, the incomparable Georgette Heyer!

I didn't care for the books we 'did' at school, but I like most of them now (still can't get past Dicky Dewey & Fancy Day in 'Under the Greenwood Tree'. Those names ruined what is probably a good Hardy novel forever. My friend & I used to have quiet hysterics over them when we 'did' that one in class!)

What does it say about us all, that we have such a similar 'literary' background? There must be some dissidents out there! Come on Brian, what were your formative reading experiences....?

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Susan Godsland
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Post by Susan Godsland » Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:52 pm

That was just the start of your letter writing career I suspect, elsy :wink:

bwking
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Post by bwking » Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:02 pm

Well, Maizie, I certainly didn't read any Georgette Heyer! I did the usual comics reading - Beano, Dandy, Eagle - but also seem to have got hold of (Mee's?) rather m. class Children's Newspaper, because as I reported I won a handwriting comp. My reading was mainly dictated by the current contents of the local (and, later, central) library: after Mary Plain, though, it all becomes a blur of continual borrowing and reading.

Mine IS a rather dissident view, in that there was/is no tradition of buying books in w. class households - so no trips to W.H.Smiths etc.. Also, since I was means-tested out of my grammar school place, I was given no introduction to the classics or usual m. class authors described by others above.

The next great impact on my reading habits, in my teens, came with the discovery of science fiction. In that genre, though, can be found much sociological and philosophical investigation, and I think it gave quite a good foundation for later critical thinking about the world - tho I sometimes regret not being familiar with much of the staple of English literature and poetry as it is understood by many posters on here, for example.

Mind you, I think there are many worse things than not being a fully formed member of the middle class :wink:

B.

Lesley Drake
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Post by Lesley Drake » Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:51 pm

That is SO true, Brian.

You could, for example be Peggy Wilber and be promoting this website tragically called succeed to read.

Rrfers read it and weep.

http://www.succeedtoread.com/sounds.html

No no no no no!

bwking
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Post by bwking » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:14 am

A nice segway, my Les, and kindly meant, I'm sure!

Peggy and Possum are obviously sisters under our skin...this is the down-side of the internet, surely, that rattle brained wanderers in the realm of child education can latch on to quarter-understood notions currently circulating in the amateur circles that mascarade as pedagogy and set up as programme providers at little expense.

I've got to admit, though, this one is particularly obtuse!

B.

g.carter
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Post by g.carter » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:37 am

"Some words don't look the same: ache, cake, steak but they rhyme. To teach your child how to rhyme, play a game....."

no,no, no - as you say, L, but surely tailor made by the man-the-barracades-no-phonics brigade. Spewed out in a hundred books and articles ... What depresses me, apart from the fact that the Early Years 'specialists' couldn't teach a struggling reader how to unravel mal-instruction and actually teach a child to read, is the sheer mechanistic joyless Orwellian patronising :

teach your child how to rhyme
play a game

i suppose there are mega-bucks, brownie-points, delusions of grandeur, status, goodness knows what else in thus pontifercating guff . Who are these people talking to??

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Peter Warner
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Post by Peter Warner » Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:17 pm

Lesley Drake wrote:
You could, for example be Peggy Wilber and be promoting this website tragically called succeed to read.

Rrfers read it and weep.

http://www.succeedtoread.com/sounds.html

No no no no no!
Thanks for that link and invitation Lesley, it ruined my night:
Don't make him read it cold turkey either or he'll sound like a car starting up on a winter morning - bumpy and hesitant. We don't want your child to practice bad reading. That's why you want to do the following:

Read the short selection to him twice.
Read the same selection with him twice.
Finally, ask him to read it by himself twice.

To, With, and By is a fabulous repeated reading technique that will catapult your child forward in reading skills.4 It will help him learn and apply sight words more quickly, helps him to practice fluent reading and improves his comprehension-all the important skills of reading.

Some parents say, "But she's memorizing the selection!" Well, when was the last time you used phonics to sound out words while reading? Phonics is used as a last resort when bumping into unknown words such as cruciate ligament. When reading you usually recognize words by sight. Phonic skills are necessary to jump-start the process of learning to read. But reading by using sight words is more efficient.
Phonics is a series of rules that children have to memorize and apply when they are sounding out new words. Children are taught a rule, i.e. Silent e, and then they practice reading words with Silent e. Then children do skill sheets at their desk highlighting the Silent e rule. Children must learn letter sounds to an automatic level - they must be able to see the letter(s) and say the sound immediately.

Critics point out that the reading/practice materials aren't very interesting, "See Spot run. Run Spot run. Spot runs fast." It is a contrived atmosphere of reading practice using the phonic rules.
Egads. There's just enough bits and pieces of common sense mixed in there
to make it sound reasonable- which means it's not just rubbish, but dangerous
rubbish. And if I hadn't had the good fortune to pick up Dianne McGuinness's
Why Our Children Can't Read several years ago, I'd be writing her a fan
letter right now.

There but for the grace...

Best regards, Peter Warner.
Peter Warner
Nagoya, Japan

English in Japan
[url]http://www.english-in-japan.com[/url]

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Proverbs 9:10

g.carter
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Post by g.carter » Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:20 pm

Exactly, Peter. 1998 was the year!

elsy
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Post by elsy » Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:16 pm

Tush, tush!! Brian. My upbringing was hardly m. class, but my family were keen on reading. My grandad bought the Wonder Books of Knowledge for my Mum and her sister. I used to spend hours reading the myths and legends and just looking things up, as did my Mum. Grandad's mother never learnt to read and signed her marriage certificate with a cross. The visits to WHS have stayed with me because it was such a treat to buy my own books.

Susan, I had quite a dialogue going in the local paper when nursery vouchers were being introduced, mainly refuting the sheer nonsense that was being peddled. I made it into TES too! I keep thinking I should try sending handy hints and tips to magazines in order to make a bit of money:

"There's nothing worse than...

... so why don't you try...?" :idea:

elsy
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Post by elsy » Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:02 pm

Well, when was the last time you used phonics to sound out words while reading? Phonics is used as a last resort when bumping into unknown words such as cruciate ligament. When reading you usually recognize words by sight. Phonic skills are necessary to jump-start the process of learning to read. But reading by using sight words is more efficient.
Because we all know that
Efficient readers, like you or me, use little more than the initial letter or two to check our expectations of the word which has been suggested by the sense of what we are reading.
Liz Waterland in 'Read with Me, an apprenticeship approach to reading', a clear devotee of Huey, Smith, Goodman, Meek et al.

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