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我的阅读之旅

雷春原创:我的阅读之旅
05/16/2017

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我的阅读之旅

雷春

读书对人的作用就如水和阳光对树一样。尽管是一个缓慢的过程,但它却能将无机材料转换成有机的生命体。

在中国的70年代,我发现阅读是一个极大的挑战。学校里正规的阅读材料只有教科书,而且我很不擅长死记硬背课文。事实上,小学二年级时,我曾有过语文测验得“零”分的记录。那次考试要求我们一字不漏地默写一段名人名言,而我却只能写下我对名言的理解。

虽然我无法死记硬背课文,但我却对成年人认为浪费时间的那些书籍有着浓厚的兴趣。我总被图书馆和书店里各种各样的非教科书所吸引。无意间,我慢慢地积累了许多不同领域的知识。我从未有过惊人的记忆力,也不认为我的阅读能力很强,而且我一直讨厌在中国读本科和美国读研究生期间需要死记硬背的内容,但我在同学中却赢得了“字典”的称号。

刚开始阅读英文文章时, 我只是阅读好奇心和求知欲让我感兴趣的东西。儿子出生后,我开始阅读育儿书籍和杂志,从而了解到孩子出生后不久美国人就开始给他们读故事。我脑海里立刻浮现很多问题。几个月大的婴儿如何能记住书里的东西?只是为了培养他们的阅读习惯吗?为什么阅读被认为在孩子早期至关重要呢?我渴望从自己孩子身上找到问题的答案。

在孩子班上做志愿者让我更好地了解到阅读的益处。每天早上都有一位家长带着自己孩子挑选的一本书, 给全班孩子朗读20分钟。起初我非常担心:我怎么能用带中国口音的英语给20多个孩子读书呢?听到我的担心,老师只是微笑着说他们会喜欢的。我逐渐意识到语言的力量就嵌在声音里,听带有外国口音的英语有助于发展孩子对不同文化的意识并激发他们的兴趣。此外,孩子们在知道语法规则和如何拼写单词前就能够阅读了,这种能力启始于婴儿期。

我儿子5岁时不擅长阅读。在帮助他提高阅读能力的过程中,我发现了不同的阅读方式。起初,他很难将声音和单词字母联系到一起;他的兴趣在于事物是如何运作的,而不是虚构的故事,这又使他不容易理解小说。我和他一同参加了阅读班,学习对语音的意识和如何扮演书中的角色。令人吃惊的是,通过阅读,他不用刻意地记住每个单词的拼写却学到了词汇。这对我来说是颠覆性的发现:孩子们天生就有学习语言的天赋,甚至不需要照本宣科地刻意去教。

我也开始阅读孩子们的所有书籍,并惊诧于自己的进步。我还了解到阅读吻合自己水平的书有助于树立自信,提高阅读技巧。阅读的方法不止一种,比如:在阅读经典小说《简爱》的时候,看电影、听有声书和与孩子一起阅读图画书等,都会有助于对原文的理解。

在和孩子们一起阅读的过程中,我对阅读英语文学有了新的认识。从此,我沉浸于各种主题的书籍、杂志和报纸之中,如育儿、心理、教育、历史、参考书目、小说、园艺、投资等。当孩子们步入青春期时, 为了更好地理解他们的行为,我认真阅读了艾米·艾利斯纳特和弗朗西丝·詹森的《青少年的大脑》 。凭着拥有不同领域的综合知识,我向成千上万的中国家长诠释了这本书。我在网上共享的阅读笔记受到了广泛的好评,并在世界范围内被华人媒体多次转发和转载。我再一次成了朋友们的“字典”。

虽然,二年级时因不能死记硬背得了“零”分,但我最近的经历表明,理解性的诠释,即使不是更重要,至少和简单的记忆同等地重要。对一些人来说, 阅读意味着记忆,而对另一些人来说阅读则是诠释。最为关键的是采用最适合自己的阅读方式。毫无疑问,阅读丰富了我的人生。

My Journey of Reading

By Chun Lei

What reading does to a person is like what water and sunshine does to a tree. It can transform inorganic materials into a living being, though it is a slow process.

In the 70’s in China, I found that reading was a great challenge. The only proper reading materials at school were textbooks. I was not particularly good at memorizing them. In fact, as a second grader, I once received a zero on a test that required me to write a famous paragraph word-by-word from memory; instead, I could only interpret the words into my own writing.

Though I was unable to memorize texts, I couldn’t stay away from the books that adults deemed a waste of time. I was drawn to the variety of non-textbooks in libraries and bookstores. Without realizing it, I slowly gained a wealth of knowledge in many different fields. I had never had a photographic memory, and had not thought I was a good reader and hated memorizing texts throughout college in China and graduate schools in the USA. But, my schoolmates gave me the nickname “dictionary”.

At the very beginning of reading English materials, I just read whatever interested me, driven by my curiosity and thirst for knowledge. When my son was born, I started reading parenting books and magazines, learning that Americans begin reading to their children shortly after birth. A number of questions immediately came to my mind. How can a few-month-old baby remember anything in a book? Is it just for the habit of reading? Why is reading considered important at such an early age? I was eager to figure it out with my own children.

Volunteering in my kid’s class helped me to better understand the benefits of reading. Every morning a parent would bring a book chosen by his/her child and read it to the whole class for 20 minutes. I was worried at first: how could I read to over 20 children with my Chinese accent? Upon hearing my concerns, the teacher simply smiled and said they would enjoy it. Eventually, I realized that the power of a language is embedded in the sounds, and hearing English in a foreign accent actually helps kids develop awareness of and spark interest in different cultures. In addition, kids are able to read before they know the rules of grammar and how to spell words, and this capability starts when they are babies.

My son’s delay in reading at age 5 led me to discover different ways of reading. At first, he had a hard time associating sounds and letters, and his interest in how things work, instead of made-up stories, hindered him in reading fiction. We went to reading classes to learn phonetic awareness and how to act out the characters of the books. Amazingly, through reading books, he learned vocabulary without intentionally memorizing the spelling of each word. It was revolutionary for me to discover that children had this innate ability to learn language, even without direct teaching.

I, too, started reading all of my kids’ books and was surprised with my own progress. I also learned that reading at one’s own level would build up confidence and improve reading skills. There is more than one way of reading: to conquer a classical book like Jane Eyre, watch a movie, listen to audio books, and read picture books with your children, all of which are effective in gaining knowledge!

In reading with my children, I gained a newfound appreciation for reading English literature. From there, I dived into books, magazines, and newspapers in various topics, including parenting, psychology, education, history, bibliography, fiction, gardening, investing, etc. As my children became teenagers, I was motivated to read The Teenage Brain by Amy Ellis Nutt and Frances E. Jensen. With my comprehensive knowledge in different areas, I was able to explain the book in a meaningful way to a lot of Chinese parents. The reading notes I shared online were well received. Once again, I became a “dictionary” to my friends.

Though I once received a “zero” in second grade for using interpretation instead of memorization, my recent experiences show that interpretation of works is just as important, if not more, as simple memorization. For some, reading may be about memorization, while for others it is about interpretation. What matters most is up to what form of reading fits one best. Without a doubt, reading has enriched my life.

雷春
这篇文章原是应湖南大学的英语教授罗雪梅老师约稿,为大学一年级的英文教科书写的,原稿经过普林斯顿经济系大三的学生吴思雨修改,过了一审和二审,中文是罗老师和我共同翻译的。但最后的审查主编认为此文本身很好,但他希望选用更能开拓大学生视野,发掘文化根基,探索古今和未来的文章。因为没有找到合适的文章,新书编写滞后了。我发出来,想看看大家的反馈。我自己认为这篇文章是中美文化的交集,深层的思考是对中国应试教育的挑战,希望国人认识到学习的方式很多,读书的方式也很多。太多的家长把孩子的特点看成缺点,孩子也因此失去自信。
昨天 晚上9点54分
雷春
Dai Xin说:[握手][握手] 我也是从小爱看非教科书的“闲书”。近几年读了Charlotte Mason的教育理念,才知道很多我爱读的闲书原来是living books。这些活的书中的活的理念、想法、主意,读书人吃下后,可以被消化吸收,成为这个个体的知识、思想和灵魂的有机的组成部分。
昨天 凌晨5点38分
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