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Channels: Entertainment - News

Tags: writing - books - language - reading - fifty shades of grey - literacy



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Reading can't be "taken for granite"

Views: 570
Added: Sun. Dec 30, 2012 10:35am
Posted in: News


For several weeks each year, I work for a company that buys used textbooks. I must evaluate the condition of each book and frequently find papers tucked inside its pages. Based on the assignments that slip into my lap (as well as the nearly-new condition of the English literature and composition books that I buy) I’ve come to the conclusion that few students actually read.

As a result, they often have hilarious notions of how the written language represents what they hear.

One young man wrote an essay on being charged with a “mister meaner.” Another blamed “inclimate weather” for moving to Florida from a northern state.

The professor must have requested a personal evaluation, because I read a student’s admission of “half hazard work” and his belief that he wasn’t smart enough to go to an “Ivory League school.”

Relationships also appear to be popular essay subjects: A young woman resented being “taken for granite” by her boyfriend. Another student (possibly her boyfriend?) wrote of his policy of keeping relationships “strictly plutonic.”

I hear many of my young customers express relief at being finished with English classes. But as I purchase their books, I confess that I worry about the future of written language.

Will novels like “Fifty Shades of Grey” get these kids reading again?

Or will success elude them in their “doggy-dog world?”

  • Posted 11:08pm December 30th, 2012

    I love the phrase "taken for granite' and have made dozens of dumb, fun jokes with it. So, I was tickled to see you use it the same way. As far as the pupils go, it is wrong to call them students, that assumes some studying. Clearly these don't. This was a nice laugh/cry blog post. Wonderfully funny, but terribly sad at the same time. From your examples, it sounds like they are high school age. I don't imagine they have much prospect of getting into college, ivory-league or not.



Renee Garrison


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