Thursday, April 14, 2011
Time for some R & R
No, its not Rest and Recreation I'm referring to. You've heard about Reading and wRiting, haven't you? When talking about writing, can reading be far behind? Sorry for the clumsy paraphrase. Yet, if you think about it, reading is essential and intrinsic to writing. If you can't enjoy a book's company, you are no writer, nor will you ever be one. These two are interlinked by a common love of words, an appreciation of their connotations and an understanding of the power of clear thoughts expressed succintly. Some years ago, I voluntered at an organization helping immigrants in my city. A lot of new immigrants come into my city because of its proximity to Toronto. Highly educated people come here from countries where they speak and read and write in languages other than English. I was paired up with a young girl who wanted to brush up her language skills in English. She wasn't a new immigrant any more though. Her family had settled in Canada for a long time for her to acquire familiarity and ease in English. Yet she couldn't read well, and obviously couldn't write. Her school work suffered and the reason why she had approached this organization was because she could not graduate from high school until she passed her mandatory English language courses. Now, I began, with great enthusiasm to draw up a reading list for her level. We read easy Readers through and through, we got through excellent children's books and by and by, I noticed a marked improvement in her writing abilities as well. When I had finished my sessions with her, she was proudly writing essays, basic by some standards, but still, essays which had clear direction and a coherent structure. I was proud of her. Moral of the story - if you want to write, read! But beware what you read. More on that later.