Reading as Citizenship

To me, reading is a part of citizenship because it is how artifacts and large amounts of information are communicated and interpreted. Being able to read and to understand the country’s laws and rules and founding ideas is crucial to being an active and participatory citizen in it, not to mention the constant news and information being fed to you about your country. Not only that, but it is also a social status symbol that plays a central part in where your position in society will be and how much power you will be given to influence that society. Of course, there is possible discrimination here when you get into what demographics of people are given access to good reading instruction over others, but that does not change the fact that the ability to read is an integral part of the country’s class and power ladder.

I read a lot, and a variety of things, so this does not drastically shape the way that I view reading or how much I will continue to do so, BUT it does make me re-think the ways in which I use reading. I am now starting to question if reading for its own sake is academically important enough to base a lesson around. As an English B.A. student, I am very familiar with lessons that value reading strictly for its literary value, but now I am thinking that lessons concerning reading need to have skills that transcend beyond the discipline and are applicable to other subjects and to life in general. I think that the skills and applications that go with reading are what really need to be taught, as critical thinking and critical reading is a much more valuable trait than being able to understand every word in a sentence.

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