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Avid Readers: An Endangered Species

A topic near and dear to all writers…

Stately McDaniel Manor

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 9.40.50 PMI regularly despair about the state of my students. With relatively few exceptions–fewer seemingly each year–they are not readers. Oh, they can read. Some of them are able to read aloud quite well. But fewer and fewer of my students show the benefits of the avid reader.

What might those benefits be? Before I explain, consider this from Stephanie Cohen at acculturated.com: 

I recently spent time with a class of fourteen-year-olds, talking about words, specifically words strung together to form speech. I started out by asking them whether they thought words could make people act in a particular way. ‘Can words lead to action?’ I asked. There was some thinking and mulling over.

We spent several weeks discussing, reading, and studying many of the greatest (and infamous) words read aloud: the Gettysburg Address, Ronald Reagan’s ‘Tear Down This Wall’ speech in Germany, John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, a host of…

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