I was talking to a friend the other day about reading. The conversation started off by telling my friend about my favorite book. It’s called The Outlander, written by Diana Gaboldon. I told her reading is something that I enjoy doing whenever I have any free time. My friend was astonished that I read for pleasure instead of just needing to read for school or work. She went on by saying that she is not a good reader and has no desire to read unless she absolutely has to.
So I asked my friend to give me some reasons as to why she wasn’t a good reader. She told me that because she didn’t do well in school and did not get a high score on the SAT that she obviously wasn’t a good reader.
After reading Multiple Roads to Literacy written by Yetta M. Goodman, I know that people have a misconception about literacy. Many people think that they are not good readers or good writers when in actuality they are. People believe that standardized reading tests and how well you do in school measures how good of a reader/writer you are. When in fact there are several different ways of being a well-read individual.
So I began explaining to my mislead friend that just because she didn’t do well in school or a standardized test does not mean that she is not a good reader. I went on to tell her that she reads the newspaper everyday, which takes a good deal of reading comprehension. She also reads TMZ on a daily basis, which is an online celebrity gossip site. Now, I know many people would not consider reading celebrity gossip something a well-read person would read, but like a newspaper, you have to have reading comprehension and a lot of discernment as to whether you believe the latest celebrity scandal. She also has her own business and has to do her own bills, taxes, PR, and advertising. She loves to travel and find new places to go and visit. I told her that she had to look up flights and hotels and research on new places to see and explore and that takes someone who can read well. She is also an avid “Words with Friends” player. It is exactly like Scrabble; it is an iPhone application that you play on your phone. That game takes someone who has a large vocabulary and who can manipulate letters to make words.
She did all of these literacy practices everyday, but did not recognize them as making her a literate person. After having this conversation with her she began to realize that she was a well-read individual. I could tell I had changed her outlook on literacy. She now saw herself as a smart person who reads and writes well.