Skip to content

“Loving to read as a strategist”. Episode 17. Who enjoys reading & if you don’t like to read.

Today it is the turn to make strategic reflections about the difference between those who enjoy reading by their own will, and those who do not like to read.  As we discovered in our last chapter, our learning attitudes and competencies are connected to our life since the mother´s womb. We have understood that since the fertilization of the ovule, there is a process of biological memory, a torrent of reading, learning, and remembrance (or recall) of communication at the intracellular, the intercellular synapse-mediated level in the nervous system and at the building blocks levels of more complex biological systems which are explained by epigenetic mechanisms. But at the same time by external conditions outside of us. These external circumstances appear in the mother´s womb (prenatal) and after birth, in the environment that escorts our early childhood. In consequence, it is probable to believe that the theory of biological memory and the epigenetics of neural learning does have an impact on our learning capacities, including reading.

“Cozy reading”. A watercolor training exercise by Eliescalante. Painted last week. Paper: Fabriano Traditional White 300 GSM. Pigments: Van Gogh and Holbein. Not for sale. Photo inspiration: Freepik.

To what extent is the magnitude of the impact of those accumulative epigenetic mechanisms in our brain learning processes, when we are stimulated to accomplish reading before first grade? This is a question that we need to resolve. If there are epigenetic mechanisms of biological learning during pregnancy (in the mother´s womb) that affect our future learning style and our brain development for reading-thinking-solving troubles; then it is more reasonable that we try to do research about it, as Lagercrantz has conducted it. I truly believe that God wouldn´t have put a complex solution for promoting our learning capabilities with genetic modification. It should be simpler. It can´t be so complicated. God is the perfect designer of our existence, and I am sure He conceived learning (including reading) in our ideal path for life. So, it shouldn´t be so difficult.  Similar to when we discovered that folic acid was the solution against spina bifida, there should be an input that is ingrained in a superfood, that a mom should eat or drink before considering having a baby, through fertilization (exactly after the sexual relationship in which the baby is conceived) and during the 9 months of pregnancy. This superfood might have the property to help the intracellular biological memory of genetic flow that is forming the brain and the neural transmission systems inside the uterus.  

If we look for the popular definition of the womb: It is the organ in the lower body of a woman or female mammal where offspring are conceived and in which they gestate before birth. For us, it is the first precious home of the baby. It is in the uterus where the baby forms all the intracellular, neural, and epigenetic mechanisms. It is the refuge in which the baby also receives stimulation from external environmental conditions. So, I believe that there should be a natural vitamin or something in the food or a mineral mix of common supplements that we should ingest to help our babies to construct their brains and neurophysiological systems when the cellular, nerves, neurons, glial cells, axons and all type of intracellular communication with biological learning and memory are configuring our inner structures with perfection.

Who enjoys reading. Aside from hereditary genetics, which trigger individual conceivable inclinations in us for a pre-determined reading learning style; we are convinced that other external explanations can influence our elegant path to becoming readers up to Literacy 5. Let me mention some of them:

  1. Stimulation activities for reading during pregnancy, after birth, and early childhood (we already discussed this topic in the last chapter). These stimulation activities are all focused to develop language vocabulary, phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, language concepts, communication, and understanding grammar rules (1). This is popularly called the set of pre-reading skills. Without language attainment, reading skills can´t scaffold into our brains. Also, kids learn to speak before they read. It helps enormously when parents familiarize the process of learning spoken words by reading books at home. When parents encourage reading at home, by teaching with pro-reader behavior as role models, quicker fluent literacy will develop in children. Even in neo-natal stages (exactly after birth), reading to babies with motherese sounds and a positive attitude helps them to recognize the significance of associating mommy’s cozy environment for reading with a pleasurable experience. Family engagement towards reading enables little kids to develop a positive relationship with books. Books in paper si´l vous plait.
  2. Practice and training with reading during early childhood help parents to identify the natural learning style of the kid at earlier moments. At a minimum, kids should be read aloud as a daily habit, and it can be a day-to-day ritual at a pre-established schedule (before going to bed for example). There are thousands of beautiful, illustrated books for kids per age that you can find at your library or bookstores.  In addition, the discovery of new things and nature can be accompanied by the exercise of reading with relaxing classical music, or by taking notes in writing (even if the kid can´t write yet), which prompts inclination to the investigation reading-researcher style too. When parents talk about books at home, in front of the kids, they also assume that books are a subject of conversation. All these practices of pre-reading skills before kindergarten are critical and have incredible benefits for decoding, comprehending, and responding, which are the basic elements of reading. This continuum of practice and training must persist for each learning /reading level during K-12 formation.
  3. Excellent reading teachers during K-12 who can help us to discover the joy of reading. I believe there should be an additional subject from first grade up to the last senior year of high school that should be added to the current curriculum. This subject should be called “Construing imagination through reading”, “Imaginative Literacy”, Innovation Literacy” or something similar, and it should be a core subject apart from Language Art or English, Math, History & Geography, and Science. The definition of “language arts” put together at least several branches of learning, such as reading, speaking, listening, spelling, literature, grammar, and composition, to develop the student’s comprehension and capacity for use of written and oral language (2). But we believe that a reinforcement towards reading should be taught apart because it is much more complex and specialized. If we wish to embroider the attainment of the competence of Literacy 5 at least in the middle 30s of adulthood, the teaching of “reading” must be emphasized during all K 12 years.
  4. Disposition of positive attitude towards books and all their genres, formats, etc. When we see reading as a discovery journey for encouraging imagination, all our anti-reading value propositions drop down. But if we see reading as a duty, just to pass the courses, or simply as something that stops after finishing high school or university; then we are killing our creativity, originality, and well-grounded future inventions. By coining a character for a reading personality, we immediately elevate reading to the same level of prominence as eating nutritiously well, exercising daily, practicing at least one form of art, visiting nature to replenish our senses, and sleeping at least 8 hours a day. All these things benefit our brain health in the long-term view, which then is reflected in our society’s good solutions and respectful community performance.
  5. Our reference group, and closest friends’ activities and approaches towards reading. By fostering and cultivating an appropriate environment of friends that adore reading, we are also creating all the conditions for sharing experiences around reading. It is a tradition that may start in early childhood, and it can grow through K-12 and universities. This is a much better habit in comparison to digital addiction or party exposure dependence. It is much better to meet for reading in our community book club once a week than to go to a rave Ibiza-type party in which teenagers will be exposed to alcohol, drugs, and pre-marital sex.  Any good reading environment helps us to become discerners. A discerner will know what, how, why, and when to buy or stop acquiring the wrong gadgets, products, or services that barren good traditions for our brain, no matter the marketing strength of these behemoth products´ campaigns or trends.  Remember, in the case of technology, no tech company can force us to buy what will damage our brains. Each well-read customer can restrain from purchasing what is bad for us, and for our kids.
  6. Our learning style: the more balanced and mature it is our learning style, which means we have learned to tame our natural epigenetic legacy and we have retained to develop the learning styles that we are deprived of, then the more proportional and balanced we are about enjoying reading. For example, it could be possible that we have a predisposition towards organizing our brain memory to the left brain or to the right brain. By balancing we mean to consciously make the effort to learn how to reinforce activities with the weakest side of our brain. Reading can help us, as much as using visual, musical, and other artistic reinforcements which can enable us to set an equilibrium. There is always space for reflection, debate, and discussion; and reading can help very much to create the continuum of expertise that is required to stimulate the other modes of learning that we lack.  “It is helpful to stress the importance of being able to work and learn in different ways at different times and for different purposes. Encouraging children to develop ways of learning that do not come easily is crucial” (3). Reading can help us during our lifetime.   
To meet and greet our friends to share our ideas and reflections about reading books is better than getting drunk or consuming drugs which end up hurting our brains with nocive experiences. Illustrative and non-commercial image. Used for educational use. Utilized only informatively for the public good.

If you don´t like to read.
For us the lack of will for reading is associated with one interesting cause: We don´t like to read because we don´t know how to read, or we can’t read fluently, or because we are tired.

This may be explained by inconsistencies and irregularities that could be endogenous or exogenous.

  1. We can´t read fluently because of exogenous reasons.  These causes are of an ample range. Lack of fluent reading could be inherent structural to the families of the readers during childhood. It could be related to a lack of excellent reading education at schools, which only teach Language arts or English, but not reading with all the edges and beauty of the matter. It could be linked to attitudes from others towards reading since birth, pre-K, K-12, or university. For example, I know of parents who crucify the good disposition of reading in kids or teenagers by telling them that reading is a waste of time. Another cause connected to our scarcity of will for reading fluently is simply poverty too: it is not the same to live in an abundance of books and resources, as to survive in a 2 m x 2m house without electricity, without a proper desk where we can separate our space for reading and studying at home. School libraries and studying cubicles play a supportive environment for kids living in deprivation. Furthermore, another exogenous cause is that we were not taught to treasure reading as an integral prize.
    Reading fluency is fundamental for academic development more broadly according to a study by researchers from the Stanford Graduate School of Education, (4).  These researchers affirm, and I agree with them consequently that when pupils have problems with their reading competence, these issues can interfere with the student’s ability to learn other subjects as they make their way through later grades. “Reading is kind of a gateway to the development of academic skills across all disciplines”. “It’s a key that opens all the doors. If a kid can’t read effectively by third grade or so, they’re unlikely to be able to access content in their other courses”. It is possible to fix that, but it requires effort and several strategies that we will discuss later during this saga. One more exogenous cause for our lack of fluent reading can be an external event of colossus proportions.  For example, the pandemic has been a discrepancy that has nothing to do with the families of the children, or schools either.  The same Stanford researchers have measured that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the students’ development of oral reading fluency – the ability to read quickly and accurately – largely stopped in the Spring of 2020 after the abrupt school closures.
  2. We can´t read fluently because of endogenous reasons.  It could happen that our brains have an inherent disorder that we are not aware of, or if we know of that damage, it hasn´t been fixed appropriately. Or an injury or accident has affected the biological normal functioning of the brain. Head injuries happen, even at earlier ages. In the book “The broken brain”, the author Nancy Andreasen describes that because our brain is arranged in two hemispheres and four lobes, then each of these sections regulates and handles different activities. Nevertheless, whatever the function of each part of the brain, each section is made up of nerve cells in two types: neurons and glial cells. Neurons communicate with each other through axons which are carrying electrical wiring messages. If the head is injured, these delicate fibers can stretch, tear, or shear off (5). The brain then is affected, and that complex system network of scattered information centers that use electrical impulses to communicate among themselves is disrupted. Many things can damage the brain: tumors, strokes, drugs, alcohol overdoses, smoking, high fevers, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In addition, any cardiovascular or respiratory disorder can deprive our brain cells of oxygen. Any trauma to the brain may affect the capabilities of how we learn. That includes our visual capabilities (if our eyes are sick, it is tough to read). In the case of eye diseases, a good pair of lenses or treatment may support. When the brain is broken, the brain can heal itself and can recover spontaneously, or with a lot of therapy, and hard effort. Sometimes the damage is too severe that the disability for reading may take place forever.   It could appear that digital addiction to screens (even video games) may affect to a greater degree, our capacity for reading fluently during early childhood, K-12, and beyond. Finally, it is worthwhile to teach the next generations to pamper and protect their brains as much as possible. Practicing risky extreme sports or engaging in activities that can damage our brains (such as drugs, alcohol, smoking cannabis, etc) should be evaded. It is better to prevent than to regret. The miracle is that when minor brain trauma hits us, it can be fixed adequately. Only if the reader is aware of the problem and is prepared psychologically and pedagogically to overcome the issue with a plan, strategies, tactics, and techniques.
  3. We can´t read well because of our draining routines. Sometimes we simply can´t focus to read because we are so physically tired. It is beyond what we can bear. To have extended working schedules without appropriate sleeping is problematic. It is arduous to try to keep reading when our organism is grueling with profound levels of fatigue. Intellectuals, teachers, students, university pupils, scholars, trainers, reading researchers, or academic investigators are required to work no more than 6 hours a day. Likewise, we need to adjust intermittent (alternating) day schedules that allow us to disconnect our brains from our work and replenish it by doing different things (outside of studying-reading). Nowadays, the digital addiction to the internet and social media, is so overwhelming, that the exhaustion doesn´t end, even if we sleep. It is too much to handle and it is affecting a whole generation of youngsters.   In my personal case, I mix alternating my intellectual writing-studying-reading activities with sports and painting watercolors. Sometimes I just need to stop thinking, go to a coffee shop, and do nothing else than give my brain some relaxation time.  When my brain urgently pleas for it, I must do it, otherwise, the exigencies of this work are too stressful, and my body announces it with a headache, with flu, or with muscular pain because I spend too many hours sitting. Our organism always warns us when we are too overloaded. To alternate different activities for keeping reading high has nothing to do with laziness but with inner energy refilling. I also have limited my access to social media platforms to no more than one hour per day. Sharing authentic social life with family, and friends, and having a romantic partner to read and relax with helps abundantly. The love from a compatible wonderful reader mate ( in my specific case, a boyfriend that later could become my husband) may support me so much to reduce weariness too.
  4. There could be other reasons that trigger our lack of enjoyment when reading. Particularly when we are confronted with exclusive priorities and we have time-space limitations.

Announcement: Our next Friday´s publication is “The business of reading”.  

 Illustrative and non-commercial image. Used for educational use. Utilized only informatively for the public good.

Strategic Music Section.

Music Reading chill-outs

In our last episode, we started to explore the definition of “reading fluency”. Professor Timothy Rasinski from Kent State University has defined this term in a noteworthy manner. We become fluent readers when we can read texts accurately, automatically, and with the appropriate prosody. And this applies when we read orally aloud, and when we read in silence. Today we will explore the term accuracy. To be accurate means to be correct, exact, precise, and right. Accurate implies loyalty to being in the true significance when we encounter words while reading. Accuracy is then reading the words correctly with their true meaning without difficulty. Someone who reads with higher levels of literacy has been trained over the years to accumulate thousands of words in the brain (we have aggregated word meanings as dictionaries ). So we have an ample vocabulary and don’t need excessive proportions of time to comprehend the meaning of the words. For example, those who go to university are expected to pull accuracy by learning new terms from different disciplines, which may allow them to read with a higher degree of accuracy than an 8th-grade student. In the current scenario in which 70% (probably more) of the global population barely holds the Literacy 3 level according to the OECD, fluent reading is not occurring. And that shows that accuracy is not being exercised either.

The less you read, the less accurate with words you are. Is the skim informational reading on the Internet affecting our accuracy when trying to read fluently, or is it something else? What are we doing in our daily lives when we aren’t focused enough to retain the meaning of words in our brains? According to my observations, we have lost the capacity to retain the meanings of words because we rely on and are confident that the Internet (Google or social media tools) will fill the gap of our lack of personal accuracy towards words. Once the brain assumes the convenience of not retaining the meaning of words, then it enters into boredom. It slows down. It becomes slothful. “Not having new experiences and learning new things will slow your brain down and make it less responsive. Learning to read with accuracy is good for your health and it can delay the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and dementia, as well as just preventing general slowing of your mental faculties” (6).

Our music that can accompany your reading today is from the pianist Vadim Chaimovich. He delights us with a collection of the best pieces for studying and concentration composed by Joseph Haydn. Haydn is superb at helping us with reading.

See you next Friday 11th of November, with the 18th episode of the saga “Loving to read as a strategist: The business of reading”. Thank you for reading to me. Blessings

“Loving to Read as a Strategist”. Illustrative and non-commercial image. Giphy source from Nazaret Escobedo

Sources of reference are utilized today.


2. and

3. Pritchard, Alain “Ways of Learning: Learning Theories and Learning Styles in the Classroom”. Routledge-Taylor & Francis. 2009. Chapter 5.




Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY.  All are used as Illustrative and non-commercial images. Utilized only informatively for the public good. Nevertheless, most of this blog’s pictures, images, or videos are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

Episode 17th total amount of words: 3463.
Reading time: 18 minutes

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s