To Kill a Mockingbird Essay

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* The question of the importance of reading is addressed by considering the ways in which the experience itself is read through the interaction of self and world.(Journal of education) * In To Kill a Mockingbird it shows us a group of young people with a deep culture of reading. When we first meet Dill he introduces himself to Jem and Scout, "I'm Charles Baker Harris. I can read." Jem, Scout and Dill many of their activities relate to the books they read. They share adventure novels (Tarzan, Tom Swift), they act out their plots, and when in the first chapter Dill wants to get Jem to run up and touch the Radley house, he does it by offering to bet "The Gray Ghost against two Tom Swifts". * We see children whose reading is deep and sustaining in the absence of instruction. * They are not taught through explicit instruction. As Scout tells it, when on the first day of school her teacher, Miss Caroline, "discovered I was literate, she looked at me with more than faint distaste. She told me to tell my father not to teach me anymore, it would interfere with my reading." * Miss Caroline sees "reading" as something that should be entirely within the purview of school. Second, she imagines that reading must be "taught." Third, her notion, that teaching will interfere with reading, is true, but not in the way Miss Caroline imagines. It isn't Atticus, but Miss Caroline herself whose teaching will interfere with Scout's reading. * So, either Miss Caroline does not know how to teach, or else "teaching" itself is suspect. The latter is implied * Miss Caroline's reading of The Wind in The Willows, which no one in her class understands or cares about. She is trying to lead the kids to reading, but she's failing. As opposed to Atticus's success: at the end of the section on school, Atticus reads to Jem and Scout, the kids are rapt, and Jem heads out

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