We read every day of our lives. We read the stop signs, the street signs, advertisements, and instructions on boxes, on cans, and on bulletin boards. This is compulsory reading which we cannot avoid, because much of it is just there.
But how much purposeful reading do we do each day? Do we read the papers, a book, a novel, a magazine, or an article? Many people do, but unfortunately too many more do not. Do we try to find out about different things? Do we read because we enjoy it?
What are some of the excuses people have for not reading? ďDonít have the time!Ē ďToo busy!Ē ďI hear the news anyway on the radio, so I donít need to read.Ē
What are some of the real reasons? Some people hate to read. Some people do not think reading is important enough to make the time to read. Some people have difficulty reading. Others donít know how to read.
People who canít read are at a tremendous disadvantage, for not being able to read means not being able to follow written instructions, and so having to depend on different cues to know when to do things. This could be very stressful.
Therefore, many people who canít read try to disguise their handicap by keeping others at bay, by assuming a hostile attitude, or simply by staying by themselves. Others disguise their illiteracy by playing the clown in class or in other situations. This allows them to cover their illiteracy and lack of knowledge with wisecracks.
However, illiteracy is a condition that can be rectified, for many people who canít read have a burning desire to read, but are afraid of exposing themselves to others who may be critical, judgmental and not so understanding. If we recognize someone who canít read, with tact and kindness we could be the lifeline he or she may have been waiting for. We can make a major difference in someoneís life by giving that person the gift of reading. Spending time with that person, and helping him or her to learn to read or to gain confidence in his or her ability to read could do immeasurable good to that personís life. Learning to read could be a purposeful activity for that person.
We must all make time for purposeful reading. Reading a passage can add much to our knowledge, to our comprehension of situations, and to our ability to write and use language appropriately. Reading a passage also helps us develop our own viewpoint about what we are reading, and helps to refine our critical thinking skills.
This is important, for in our global society, we need to be critical thinkers, asking questions rather than accepting everything that we are told. We need to make time to read, digest and question what we read. Despite the other media that make it so easy for us to accept passively what we hear, we must become actively involved in knowledge creation, questioning assumptions and agendas, and accepting, after much scrutiny, only what makes sense to us.
A Word about Intrinsic Motivation
Motivating youth is serious business and a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Truly motivating youth is more than making promises of material things, for when the attractiveness of the material possessions wear off, so does interest. This is because true motivation comes from within, and has very little to do with material things. Intrinsic motivation is therefore motivation that develops within the individual and is long lasting, because it is supported from within. One approach to youth motivation involves working to inspire pride, passion, purpose, performance, and poise in young people.
Intrinsic motivation can be seen most noticeably in young people that are the most difficult to reach. Therefore, to really see motivation at work, we must reach out to those young individuals that at the present time are not being reached. These are young people who are quite likely feeling alienated, unwanted and unloved.
If we can reach them, letting them know that they have something to contribute, and helping them to discover some strength or talent in themselves, this will help them develop pride in themselves.
Once a young person, who has not been achieving and who may have believed that he or she was good for nothing, realizes that he or she has talent and can achieve something worthwhile, they would develop a passion for whatever they can do.
Having a passion, the young person pushes himself or herself to develop more. This practice improves performance. With improved performance, the young person develops confidence, which gives him or her poise.
Therefore, in thinking of intrinsic motivation, we must speak about reaching young people that are hard to reach, and helping them so their experience of success increases their pride, inspires their passion, delineates their purpose, raises their performance level, and increases their poise.