Q&A: What was something you couldn’t do today? Go to lunch with my husband and Fallon to get spicy ramen soup from Kanpai Restaurant. They left at noon and I had to be at work at 12:45 to make copies of pages from an anatomy book for the seventh graders. I was able to get 282 pages printed, hole punched, and stacked in piles of six in 20 minutes.
I wanted to try some new exercises with the kids, but I need them to grasp the basics first, so we stuck with the stretch, run, squat, jump routine before suicide drills and water breaks. They were given free time today for basketball, soccer, tetherball, or catch. They also had the option to play with one broken hula hoop or walk around.
Since I didn’t have the gradebook to give to my coworker, he gave me all the quizzes from the other school so I can enter the grades. I notice that the grades are consistent, but also that one kid misspelled his own name. These kids might be in fifth grade, but some are at a third-grade level. I am sure that I do not fully understand the system.
Dad calls to mention something in passing, Flesch-Kincaid index, and unknowingly has me interested in it for the next two hours. I will discuss it with Caleb while we put in sample texts from different blogs, books, articles, and speeches with dissimilar themes and varying contexts to gauge the reading level that I write at.
Basically, this index grades you on the syllables of words and the lengths of your sentences (which should be 20-30 words long) and lets you know what grade level would comprehend your writing, from Kindergarten to college graduate. What happens to our speech development after we turn 25?
This is an eye-opener. I’m on the right track reading books that require a dictionary to finish — not to fully comprehend, but to teach me more words along the way. I need to improve the quality of my writing by using the big synonyms and better descriptive words to express my meanings by their true definition.
The men that Americans idolize used to dabble in politics, medicine, art, humanities, religions, history, etc. and they had the language comprehension to do so. I understand that not everyone should be as fluent as doctors or lawyers in their lingo, but having a tiny grasp makes it easier to have more educated and meaningful conversations.
The book I just finished reading, The Dumbest Generation, by Mark Bauerlein touches on this topic as well; stating that the next generation is more likely to pass around GIFs on their phones and current social media references that pertain to their inner circle than to discuss topics that concern their future economy, government, and environment.
Some of the most influential authors did lessen the grandioseness of their writing so that they could reach a larger audience, but perhaps we (people who speak languages) should be concerned with ensuring that others learn the full complexity of one of our greatest means of expression instead of limiting vocabulary to an eight-year-olds level.