Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Is there a correlation between literacy and academic success?

Obviously I haven't conducted any research on this, but I think there probably is.

Unfortunately the student who just popped into the office disagrees. Taking one look at the pile of books on my desk, she announced that I'm like her sister: 'she has loads of books, and keeps them pristine. I think it's stupid'. My comment that she might do better at university of she read more books was received in unconcerned silence.

I don't keep my books pristine: ones I use for work are covered in annotations and page markers. As to the rest: I'm stunned by how many students are resistant to books. They're just another medium, and a pretty good one. A first-year English student once told me that she 'didn't really like reading', which I thought was depressing.

I read because other peoples' imaginations are better than mine. I read because books allow me to go to other places, other times, other situations which would otherwise be closed to me. I read because I have a stressful job in a declining institution in a dying town and I don't want those parameters to define my existence. I read because it gives me access to ideas and ways of seeing the world which I couldn't come up with on my own. Reading sometimes relaxes me, sometimes infuriates me. It widens my intellectual, emotional and moral horizons. The more I read, the more I realise how little I know, and how much more there is to know, to think about and to feel.

How can any of that be boring?


Anonymous said...

A nice piece about reading. You could make a living visiting schools and saying that to the kids.

The Plashing Vole said...

Thanks. Unfortunately, I don't make a living saying it to students at a university!

Ewarwoowar said...

Well bally well said, Voley!

I felt all those wonderful emotions just reading Hulk Hogan's book.

The Plashing Vole said...

And so you should: it's a masterpiece.