I Read, Therefore I Am

Reading isn’t everyone’s favorite anymore. What now?

I have always read everything, from the back of cereal boxes to instruction manuals in machine-translated English, from Ulysses to Marvel comics. If it can’t be read, it usually doesn’t have much staying power in my household.

As a teacher though, and this is not a complaint per se, I have noticed that newer generations (by my definition, a generation is one single year at our school) have the greatest difficulties with easily identifying the structure of a text or its main thesis or theses, although many members do read voraciously. The problem is really what is read and how it is read. Newspapers and (especially) in-depth news sources are hardly ever anyone’s favorite. Biographies or autobiographies? History books or political, social or economic analyses? Anything that throws more than 100 lines at you? Not popular.

The quick fix is the name of the game.

The result is that whereas people with my background usually have no problem whatsoever identifying the gist and main points at a (single) glance, it is excruciatingly difficult work for newer generations to isolate exactly those. What makes it especially frustrating for them and for me is that they are usually really trying their best … and sometimes miss the point only by a millimeter. But most miss it.

So, what is one to do?
Refrain from demanding they should be able to do it?
I have great difficulties with that and no real answers on a topic that seems virtually bottomless.

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and deus62.com is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

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