As a former classroom teacher and parent, I would often hear the following comments:
- children just aren’t reading books like children did in the past
- children are spending too much time, gaming or on their computers
- people’s language skills have deteriorated in comparison to the past
At one-point, mid-career, I would have to say these thoughts have also passed through my mind, however, as time has progressed, and technology and our culture has changed, I disagree with these comments. Today, I think that children are reading but in a different way, often through technological devices. Moreover, today given the level of available extensive and creative resources on-line, educators can appeal to the interest, age and ability of pretty much any student, and as such reading is not limited to tactile books. In addition, due to the great promotion of at home reading programs, boys club reading programs, leveled reading books and apps (including games) that support students’ reading and writing growth, I do believe reading and literacy levels have increased in Canada. Yet, this growth is not necessarily stable and slightly declining as per the 2019 Globe and Mail article, the link found below.
Vocabulary expansion is an essential piece in expanding literacy skills and it is important that we not only remain committed to supporting our children in expanding their word knowledge and usage, but we as adults should keep expanding and enhancing our vocabulary. We are the role models for our children, (yes, we need to keep our potty mouths in check) and we too need to keep up our literacy skills. We as communicating humans need to keep exercising our brains. As Jessica Stillman writes in her article, it strengthens our neural pathways