Schools should create special “reading” days


Retirement is wasted on the elderly!

This is a revelation reached after two years of retirement. My reason for this is simple: I now have much more time for reading and what I have discovered is that in the past year and half I have learned more than in the previous 10 years of my life. What is equally important is that my English has improved.

Even at my late stage in life I can now communicate in my first language more effectively, both in speech and in writing, than ever before. My vocabulary has both been reinforced and enlarged. The dictionary is a constant aid. All of this is attributed to more reading — the reading I failed to do earlier in life. In spite of the fact that I also learn from a few informative radio and TV programs, it has been mainly through reading that most of my learning has taken place.

The problem that bothers me now is that I should have had these new-found knowledge and language skills when I was a younger person, when it could have been put to greater use.

Okay — why am I writing this message? For anyone who has read this far, here is my response.

We are told that nation-wide surveys and other studies show there are far too many young persons in Nunavut with lower than average language skills in our official languages. In a rapidly changing world that is captured by an ever evolving technology, reading for the sake of learning or for pleasure no longer seems to be in vogue. And yet, we must have proper linguistic and comprehension skills to progress and survive in an increasingly competitive world. We must also learn how to learn.

I therefore propose that all schools devote two complete days to reading and language arts per term. Every teacher should be involved whether it is in the field of science, physical education, social studies and mathematics — not just those instructing language arts and skills.

Emphasis should be on extra-curricular reading in any language including Inuktitut or English or French. The major purpose of this exercise is to engender a greater appreciation for the written word and love for knowledge whether it is on the internet, in books, magazines, newspapers or any other publications.

The possibilities and permutations are too great to detail in this letter, however they are as instructive and as beneficial as our imagination will allow. By the way, “reading” (and listening to the radio) exercises our imagination much more than viewing our non-literary forms of information.

Frank Pearce

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