Category Archives: reading

Reading Time

I am trying to teach my daughter how to read. Ok, so I have no clue what I am doing. I guess this is why you need all sorts of special certificates to teach these kinds of things in school. It is totally different than regular teaching, and there is supposedly some sort of methodology.

Of course going into it I had no idea about any of this other stuff either. I mean, *I* learned how to read, so why could I not teach someone else? Right? Except, yes, I know there was in fact a time when I was little and illiterate, and then something happened and I was no longer illiterate, even though still little. Yes, something happened. Some sort of process took place. And I don’t remember any of it. I have no recollections of a time when I didn’t know how to read.

So I went to one of those instructional stores for elementary and preschool kids hoping to get some advice and materials that might help with this process. Of course my first instinct was to take out one of the dozens of books Ally has and use it teach her how to read. That is apparently not how you do it.

I knew of one reading resource. I vaguely remember advertisements for it, but at that point I was already reading. In fact I think I was in middle school or high school or something. But I remember thinking it was pretty interesting. So, when I got to the child learning store I told them I wanted to teach my daughter how to read, and asked if they had Hooked on Phonics. I might as well have walked in there and told them I wanted to murder small babies and tiny kittens. They gave each other the “who allowed this woman to have children?” look and then informed me that that is a terrible way of teaching children to read.

They spent about half an hour telling me why Hooked on Phonics is Satan’s spawn, but nothing they said was terribly convincing. The longer they talked the more it sounded as though they weren’t so much advocating against Hooked on Phonics as trying to sell me something else. I became suspicious.

So I went online. Hooked on Phonics does indeed have a slew of people who don’t, for myriad reasons, agree with the methodology employed in teaching children to read. But it also has just as many people who vouch that their children received the desired results.

To make a long story slightly shorter, I went on Amazon and bought a starter kit for Ally. If she learns nothing from it, then we will have spent a few hours together and I am out $50. Worse things have happened.


Ok, so this isn’t really a post, it is just a general rant.

A note on my previous posts on Faust. Sorry, I should have been more clear. I am reading Goethe’s version. I am not reading Marlowe. I thought it was obvious, but apparently it was only obvious to me. Although after we finished the second part in class I did spend a few minutes outlining Marlowe’s version and briefly discussed the differences.

A friend of mine is teaching a book on eating vegetables. Or not eating animals. Ok, I obviously need further instruction on this topic, but anyhow, she was telling me earlier about the documentary on farming she is having her students watch the next few class sessions, and I immediately recalled another documentary on animal rights I watched about a year ago. It was a short ten minute piece that depicted tiny ducks force fed until they almost exploded. It was like watching kittens being tortured. She assured me it was nothing like that. During this conversation I was typing on my phone very quickly as I only had a few minutes – we were texting while my students were on break. I was mistyping a lot and Autocorrect distorted it further. It ended with both of us laughing hysterically. It was very inappropriate. I think Autocorrect has a sick sense of humor.

I miss wearing boots like the deserts miss the rain. That is your Sade reference for the day.

I don’t care what Colbert says, “truthiness” is not a word. Yes, I know, it is in the dictionary now. Fine. Not buying it.

I am in a mood of sorts tonight. Not a good one mind you. Although not a bad one either. And yes, I am writing at night (as usual) and posting in the morning. So things may be different by the time you actually get to reading this.

Today my son told me he hates me. I thought I had a few more years before he came to that stage. Well, better early than never.

Ooooh… Can’t wait for my first of October post later! I promise, it’s coming!


Tailored Humor

Sometimes I must take my own advice.

When I created my GRE reading list, I made it not just to help myself remember everything, but also as a study guide for anyone else who wishes to use it. However, my intentions were not to read, or reread, the works on the list. It took me many years to get through all of those works, including the several lists I have yet to post, so I would not think it feasible or practical to suggest someone plow through it in a few months, or even a year (unless they do nothing but read every day). My intention was towards creating an easy reference guide, a refresher to skim through.
I walked into my own trap. Sartor Resartus.
It is no secret I have a weakness for comedy. The story itself is only funny if you pick up on the allusions. Like the time my friend sent me a picture of Madonna with her newborn baby and I couldn’t stop laughing (Madonna and Child). Yeah, just like that. While the jokes in Sartor seem like literary allusions now, they were just the pop culture of the day. And still funny now.
I didn’t know this when I first read it, but another friend showed me the meaning of the names in the work years later, which made it that much more hilarious, as I reread it noting that the Professor of all things General, from the town Somewhere Over There, discusses the implications of ossified national notions through a metaphor of clothing (explained through the meaning of the title).
Nevertheless there is far more to the work than a well written comedy, drawing on the works of some of my other favorite writers and their philosophies, not to mention how it influenced many works to come. For many years the implications of Sartor can be heard through literature and criticism.
Yet it is the way in which Sartos is presented that makes it a better read than others expressing the same ideas. The message is not wryly presented through a series of essays, but rather retailored in an all too irresistible comedic form. I guess that was the point.
Tonight I only reread half of the work, but will probably stay up reading the rest. I am too giddy to put it down. For my sake there better be at least three Carlyle questions on the GRE. Then I can in good conscience say I spent the evening conducing useful “research.”