As a native English speaker and a teacher of the English language, I have become increasingly concerned at the deteriorating standard of reading and writing and its reduced value in our daily lives.
Our need to read and write in life is paramount and cannot be underestimated. It is the foundation for our academic study at school from an early age and despite protests about it in adolescence as we develop our independence, we encounter its value again very much for the rest of our life.
Yet what I am finding is greatly perturbing. Children are not read bedtime stories like they used to be because their parents are too busy out working to earn the money to pay the Bills and for the holiday, new cars, material things etc – even the school fees . If children are not read to at an early stage, then they fail to read properly as they grow older and some do not read at all and their general reaction, when asked, is that Reading is unnecessary and boring.
If children do not read stories, then they cannot tell them either and this puts them at a disadvantage as they grow older because their capacity to communicate is diminished and they suffer a lack of confidence and fluency in communication.
This is a noticeable trend worldwide. It is happening in England, USA and is certainly in countries like Indonesia where there is a growing desire to learn English as a foreign language but the students are reluctant and unwilling to read English texts.
Oddly the same students are able verbatim the lyrics of the songs of Bruno Mars and Katie Perry and certain football anthems while being unable to read with any cohesion or fluency basic English language.
Telling a story is, of course, not just about reading Winnie the Pooh, Noddy, Postman Pat or the Elves and the Shoemaker and other such fairytales; it is also about relating stories which are happening in our lives to others and about current news stories which touch our lives.
So consequently, not only can the students not read well but their handwriting is of a lazy nature (that is being kind) and lacks any kind of cohesion as well . I encourage a system of listening to what is spoken and then writing to it – a form of dictation. I encourage this because I want to engage the students in the form of error and correction and to attempt to comprehend.
This is a fault of native English speakers with their own language as well as foreign students trying to learn English.
The purpose of this Post is actually not to criticize any Student for their lack of application to read and write English but to emphasize the importance of Reading and Writing for us all. It is all so easy to type something on the laptop or by way of text on the Handphone but the importance of producing the text in your own handwriting and in a legible clear way must be realized.