Column: Reading is not fun – it is a survival skill

Aleksis Salusjärvi teaches boys to read. He leads a Reading Center’s project, which aims to improve poor literacy skills of young males in vocational institutes. He writes

“In practice, literacy skills mean the ability to comprehend your environment. A hockey coach is said to possess an ability to read the game. This means that by observing the events in the game the coach understands what changes he need make to defeat the opposing team. Everyone has some sort of ability to read ice hockey. The fun of watching the game bases on the ability to read events in the game.

Offsides, penalties and passes are the grammar of hockey. However, the literacy skills of ice hockey can never be perfect. Every hockey coach would be better in their work if he could take into account more things and interpret them better.

Likewise it it said that a sailor can read the sea. He knows how the waves form up and how the winds and the currents affect to the heave of the sea. The better the sailor, the more difficult conditions he can bring the ship safely to the harbor.

When we speak about reading a text our idea of literacy skills change for some reason. It is commonly thought that the information is simply transmitted from books with the aid of literacy skills. In real life, reading a text is a same sort of skill as reading a hockey game. We can read a thousand books or watch a thousand games but our understanding of them both is solely based on the ability to take observations from the world opening up before our eyes.”

Read the whole column