Yeah, you read that correctly! This is not an article on Bug Out Bags, Food Storage, Alternative Power, Firearms or Gardening. This is an article on Reading Comprehension and what I see as a lack of it.
I don’t know if it is a result of our fast-paced lives or that we have become accustomed to bite sized pieces of information in the form of one-liners, puff news articles, Facebook, that we have become visual learners or whatever. But I have noticed that many people don’t read for comprehension anymore. They scan, read the headlines, comment, send hate mail and don’t really stop to reflect on what is really being said.
I have encountered this more than I would like to believe, which is why this article has been stirring in the pot for a while. I can’t just pass this off as our current education system because the prepper demographic is usually older, the majority being between 40-70 years of age. I’m not saying that younger people don’t prep, just that they are not the majority. So, I can’t just blame this on our current education system. Like I said above, somewhere along the lines we stopped reading to truly understand what was being written and started reading to just get through reading.
So, I decided to take a walk around some of my reading teacher’s classrooms to find some anchor charts and materials that they might have posted that I could include in this article. Maybe, it would be helpful to be reminded of some key reading strategies to understand some of the articles and information that we are reading in the preparedness community. The pic below was taken in one of my 2nd grade Reading teacher’s classroom. I’ll use the pic to review these reading strategies.
Check for Understanding – Simply ask yourself, do I understand what I’m reading? Does it make sense or am I confused about what the author is writing about? If I understand what I’m reading, can I retell it to someone else who is next to me with accuracy?
Connect to the Story – How does this story or article apply to you? Is there a text-to-self connection, meaning can you relate this article to something in your life? Is there a text-to-text connection, meaning have you read about this before? When and where? When you are able to connect to the story/article, you internalize it and it becomes more than just words on a paper or computer screen.
Back up and Reread – If you become distracted or you are unsure about what you just read, take the time to backup and reread. Sometimes that means rereading just a sentence or paragraph. Sometimes you just need to go back, slow down and reread the whole article.
Recognize Story Elements – What is the main idea of the article? What are the details? If the author is making a point, can I restate that in my own terms?
Make Mental Pictures – This is important because taking the time to make mental notes/pictures helps to store information into your long-term memory. When you take the time to do that, you are telling your brain that the information that you are reading is important and you want to remember it. If you can attach or link the information that you read to an image that is important to you, you will have a better chance at recalling that information.
Make Predictions – Many articles that Preppers read are going to be non-fiction and are informational. But, you can make predictions about what it would look like if you applied the information to your own life. For example, if you are reading about raising backyard chickens, with the information that you just read, how would that look in your own backyard?
Name the Characters – This isn’t really helpful in our Prepper related articles. But you can apply this to any informational articles by asking yourself who will be effected by the information that you just read, your family, your neighbors, your spouse, your city….
Name the Problem and Solution – Many times we are reading articles because we are interested in that area of prepping. Take a moment to ask yourself why you are reading what you are reading and how you are going to apply it to your situation.
Now, just like most everything else, this information is just not for the Preparedness Community. It can be applied to any area where Reading is required. I hope that there are some parents out there who are reading this that can help their child who might be struggling with Reading Comprehension. The key is to slow down, reflect and ask the right questions.
Reading is the basis for every other academic discipline. If you can Read with Comprehension, you can pick up a book and with time, learn anything!
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
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