Reading and Lifelong Learning
Larry and Annette have always loved books. The research on reading clearly demonstrates the importance of modeling positive reading experiences for children. This is equally true of adults.
Reading is at the root of lifelong learning. Although listening to music, experiencing the changes in nature at sunset, and sketching an ancient ruin all contribute to understanding ourselves and the world around us, reading provides the information needed to expand our understanding of these things. Of course reading goes far beyond books to include maps, brochures, diagrams, photographs, and all kinds of other forms of information.
Teachers and Reading
As we work with teachers in school districts and at conferences, we've found it shocking how many teachers don't read for pleasure. Of course everyone complains about lack of time, however there are many ways to enjoy a good book. For example, you can double your reading by sharing your experiences. We're surprised how often the books we're reading overlap in issues or content. As Annette was reading 1421, Larry was reading Guns, Germs, and Steel. Both books focused on the connections between the natural world, geography, culture, and human relationships.
Reading can take the form of paper such as hardbacks, paperbacks, comics, newspapers, or magazines. However books can also be read on a desktop computer, laptop, or portable ebook. Don't forget about audio books on tape, CD, or MP3 players. You can expand your reading time by listening to books on tape or CD in the car, while exercising, or doing laundry.
Many techie types say they've given up reading books in favor of Internet exploration. We view books and Internet as going hand in hand. For example, the book 1421 by Gavin Menzies contains an extensive companion website full of maps and other materials. After reading E=MC2 we dove into development of an 42explore project on the Nuclear Age. Many audio recordings of Sarah Vowell's short stories can be found at radio station websites such as NPR. After reading a book called the Mountain Meadow Massacre, Larry explored the Internet for information about the region, people, culture, and history of southwest Utah. Our current passion is alternative news and information resources. Website such as The Onion and Michael Moore combine real-world issues and humor.
Some of our most exciting reading experiences involve combining reading, music, Internet exploration, and travel. While in Colorado, we listen to John Denver music, read about the mountains, and explore the Internet for information about ghost towns to visit, hike to photograph local plants and animals, and back country roads to explore unique geology. In the southwest we listen to Native American music, read books by Edward Abbey and Terry Tempest Williams, learn about junipers, petrified wood, and endangered tortoise, and seek out ancient rock art sites with maps from the Internet.
Consider developing your own reading log. Your log could include many things besides books. Log interesting news articles, fascinating websites, or favorite comics. Although you might stick to one topic, we enjoy reading books across all subjects. Amazon users may know that this website keeps track of customer preferences and customizes your page to fit your interests. We find the choices they make for us hilarious. In the past couple months we've bought books on topics ranging from lichens and back country roads to physics and popular fiction. We've also purchased CDs, DVDs, novels, and children's books.