This came through my Twitter feed today. I love these pictures. The international appeal of reading and text, everyone everywhere needs to be able to read so that they are able to work, to play, to help find a community and to enable a connection with other people, to figure out how to do things, and to just get on in society.
Today I worked with a class of Year 10 students helping them with a research assignment, the problem for many of them was that their spelling was so bad, they could not find the information they were searching for, and when they found it, there was so much text on a page that their major urge was to simply copy and paste the whole webpage into a word document and call it quits. It was only with me reading out what was on the pages that they realised that not everything worked to answer the questions they had to answer. They just trusted that if there was a webpage that came up in a Google search (or a Bing search – man I hate Bing) that it would be exactly what they needed. The worst one was when there was a photo-shopped picture of a tsunami and the student was so blown away by the image that even though he realised it was fake, it was so much more impressive than the real thing that he decided to use it instead of the less impressive real photos.
What is my point (let’s leave the copyright and the plagiarism issues alone for now). My point is that these boys were so disadvantaged compared to their peers, the mere fact that they couldn’t check facts, or analyse data meant that they blindly trusted that the text in front of them was right. How will they cope in later life, will they go through their lives blindly trusting that what is written is truth. These guys need help, they need to be able to read, they need to be able to look at information and think critically about it, and they badly need to be able to find strategies to help with spelling. I’m hoping to get them back for a session where we look at a few things, how to search so that you can find better information, information that really works to answer the questions you have to answer, and how to make better decisions on what you put in your assignment. Might also show them how the spelling and definition features work in google.
But lets please get them reading the information in front of them rather than blindly accepting that it is all correct. Reading skills are for life, for a better life.