I have been reading this book called Readicide : How schools are killing reading and what you can do about it by Kelly Gallagher and I have to tell you it has been so spot on. A lot of the things that I talk about here in terms of children not having a lot of books at school or home, and how kids are being bombarded with preparing for tests and not viewing reading as pleasurable is just a few of the things that Mr. Gallagher has been addressing in his book. There is one thing though that I wanted to talk about briefly that he mentions in chapter three which is something called the reading flow. He said, he got that term from Csikszentmihalyi who is the author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience who says, this is the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it. Gallagher says, ‘the flow’ is where we want all of our students to be. He continues to explain how teachers get so involved in trying to dissect and analyze the book that their students are supposed to read that they will keep stopping the ‘reading flow’ by continuously asking questions like, what was the author’s purpose, why did the character say that or what did the passage mean in hopes to get the student to really understand the book but, unfortunately what wounds up happening is that the students tend to get disinterested in the book and they just simply give up on that book or in reading altogether.
I wanted to share this with you all so that we can remind ourselves to help our children enjoy reading by allowing them to be immersed in a book so that they can view reading as a pleasurable and enjoyable experience. So let them pick out a book that they enjoy and of course you approve of then, let them get lost in the book without questioning them every five seconds on what was the author’s purpose. Just let the reading flow.