Sunday, June 15, 2008

Current Nostalgia: Reading Out Loud

Paragraph Reader!

Learning by reading paragraphs. I guess it works. Not for learning but for counting. IN elementary school to achieve the double whammy of practicing reading aloud and absorbing whatever new information we were learning at the time. The teachers would have us all open our books to the same pages and go around the room each reading a paragraph at a time. I don't know about anyone else but I would always count ahead to what paragraph I would be reading to see how long it was and if there were any words I didn't know in it. If there were words I didn't know the I would scan the previous paragraphs to see if the word appeared earlier and then wait for whoever was reading that paragraph to pronounce or mispronounce the word to save face when I had to read it. If the word appeared for the first time in my paragraph I would then fret and explore the ways to say it, sounding it out, guessing what it rhymed with or practicing my "I don't care if I say it wrong, you try to get it right inflection". The pre-counting of paragraphs didn't always work. Sometimes paragraphs are only one or two sentences long and then I didn't know if the reader would read the super short paragraph only or read the next one as well. Sometimes the teacher wanted the student to read more than the short paragraph. This always messed up the count. I then would have to prepare myself for reading any number of paragraphs, not knowing how the super short paragraphs would be treated. Another wrench in this plan is not knowing the direction the student to student reading will go, up and down rows, across tables, in a circle, I never knew so I had to determine the pattern of reading first, or guess it. I don't remember actually learning anything from the out loud reading other than how to strategize my potential paragraph.

Once I got to high school, I thought that panic was over.

And yet, this is how I am trained in my pretend job. If I am not being read to from a text heavy PowerPoint slide, I am reading aloud paragraph by paragraph in a group of adults. Doing the same things of course, counting ahead to see what paragraph will be for me to be able to prepare myself and impress everyone with my reading out loud skills.

Good thing I can pronounce more words now.

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