The unpopular case against good spelling punctuation and grammarby Alexander on June 17th, 2016
The sad thing (i feel) about these types of discussions is that they tend to be dominated by bookish adults who absolutely love the medium of written language or, parents who are worried sick about their kids, struggles to learn to read.
If your job is to teach kids to read the idea that the importance of literacy is over stated presents an existential threat, and is therefore offensive, but as a severely dyslexic adult or a high functioning illiterate, let me make the case.
We shouldn’t assume that the only way to acquire knowledge is through reading. I only read my first book age 17 during a dull and arduous rugby tour. Now I would say it’s not unusual for me to consume three books per week, having them read to me by my kindle. I also proof read my outbound emails using text-to-speech software.
My feeling is that people should not wait for literacy in order to start learning. As someone who had to sit through hundreds of hours of reading bangers and mash, I can attest that reading aloud and making mistakes in a book that you know is well below your Maturity and intelligence level does nothing for yourself esteem.
My personal view based on my experience growing up, is that if children are slow to learn to read, other roots have to be found for them to access information.I feel; often educators are very dogmatic about children’s ‘need’ to learn to read. They do of course, but if they are experiencing delays, that should not be allowed to impact other subjects.
if people are bad readers, that is a bandwidth issue, you need to find another way to bring on band with for them. i.e. youtube, podcasts, TV, text to speech software and many more options.
I often feel this is really more about schools unwillingness to fight for resources for these children. If the adults are freaking out what chances do the children have? My other observation is that some things can be learnt later. I have only just learned to touch type and am learning to code now. which my wife reports has improve my writing accuracy.
I passed all my exams and read Biology at Imperial because my mum negotiated me having a reader and a scribed for my exams. I went on to work at the BBC, and simply used Voice driven software to work. Luckily for me the normal requirement for literacy was just dropped.
My personal feeling is that a big issue, is that access to opportunities is denied to people who do not have good literacy. My personal view is that literacy is important, but that is not a synonym for essential.
Normal people find it hard to conceive of how someone could operate with a low level of literacy, but the truth is you can so long as yours self-esteem remains in tact.
Ironically, my biggest issue is literacy pedants, patronising people who want to spend time talking to me about phonetic mistakes in my e-mails to them which, given the meaning and the intent of the message has been transmitted is a waist of my time and ‘theres’.
I very much agree that RRR should be taught in the most time effective way. I also agree there are massive opportunity costs, the greatest of which is the persons self esteem.
If a standard has to be upheld then for me that standard has to be ‘adequate communication. Could you understand what was meant? So long as the signal is discernible from the noise, the spelling and grammar are good enough. When i notice that someone has a bad stutter, I both feel for them and at the same time envy them, although they must have been teased as a child, I imagine they are generally treated with more good grace than i am as an adult.