Reader for Life

MA Blogger: Brenda Bernstorf

“If you’re a reader for life, then you’re a learner for life, you are the definition of what I consider to be a dangerous individual, which is somebody who doesn’t have to take anybody else’s word for it.”

-LeVar Burton from “A Legacy of Literacy”

If you are not quite sure who LeVar Burton is – think “Reading Rainbow” or “Kunta Kinte” from the miniseries “Roots.” Burton is a literacy advocate. Burton says that he’s a reader because it helps him expand himself.  This is far beyond learning to read and the ability to read this is reader for life that makes a learner for life mindset.

I can identify with Burton’s position on reading because I too am a reader for life and a learner for life. I read both fiction and nonfiction. And through the years I’ve learned an amazing plethora of things I find interesting. How do you know if what we read is true? In fiction, the story, even if it’s historical fiction, is usually fiction with some true facts thrown in. Some books I have recently found interesting are on topics like the history of food, the history of pots, pans, and cooking and eating utensils (Check out: Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson and A History of Food by Toussaint-Samat). There are several books on the history of salt and the history of language that I have found fascinating too.

How do you know that what you are reading is true? The concept of scholarly validation is one that I have encountered in my doctoral program. It’s not enough to read an article and use that in research. It must be an article that has been tested and validated by other respected researchers. It must be scholarly or peer reviewed.

This concept is often ignored. As a reader and a learner, I have to stop and truly think about some of the statistics I read and dig deeper to see if that poll or that statistic has been validated by other sources.  The same goes for headlines! Headlines are meant to grab your attention but may be totally opposite to the content of the article that follows…so, I have to remind myself that headlines are not news and are not necessarily trustworthy.

Reading is good. Learning is better. Verify facts for trustworthy information.

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