Reading, Comprehending, Listening, Staying Awake ~ Different Skill Sets

By WR Jones

Looking Back

    My company has a “Reading Buddy” program with a local grade school.  I think they are first graders.    We read to them for 30-45 minutes once a week.   Each adult has a group of 5.    I don’t know what to expect of them at that age but they don’t listen worth a hoot.   They appear to be dumber than 40 water buffalo.  You can read a  SHORT paragraph and ask a question.   Not a single right answer time after time after time.   The little buggers comprehend zilch.

    I on the other hand read 20,000 words a minute.   The product of an Evelyn Woods speed reading class years ago.   I read War and Peace in an hour and a half….. it’s about Russia.

    I have some vague recollections of being a model student at this age.   I think I got all A’s and kudos for model behavior.   Or at least that was my recollection until my mother pulled out a box of old report cards and gave them to my daughter.    Why would you save your child’s report cards that long?   And then why subject your only  begotten son to public humiliation?    There were notes from 60 years ago stating I was not paying attention and I was bothering the girls.   

    I guess somewhere after this first grade business we learn to pay a little more attention and can even stay awake while reading.    That period of personality development lasts a number of years before the big down hill slide begins.

    Now I can’t listen, comprehend, or stay awake.    I think they have reading buddy programs for old geezers.   If I get one of my former students reading to me as I nod off, I wonder if he will steal my candy like I did his.

    This DEA  lady standing behind the tree was listening to me tell my 5 little charges I thought they were wasting their time in school and could make a lot more money working the street corners selling paper flowers for me.   If they hustled they could have a Lexus for themselves by the time the 6th grade dance rolled around.

    I should have been a teacher.  I would enjoy having all summer off.

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29 Responses to Reading, Comprehending, Listening, Staying Awake ~ Different Skill Sets

  1. Well, Bill, whatever the story of this painting is, I like it a lot. It’s very interesting. I especially like the contrast of the woman’s black and white patterned blouse with the simple white house. She looks lonely… not exactly like the woman in Wyeth’s Christina’s World, but perhaps with a bit of the same longing.

    Reading to children is one of the great pleasures in life. I don’t believe for a moment that they don’t pay attention, unless perhaps you’re reading the phone book to them.

  2. 100swallows says:

    Nice painting, Bill.

  3. Carol King says:

    I bought a book on speed reading once. Never finished it.

    I’m surprised they let you read to first graders. Is there a federal monitor with you at all times while you are with the children?

    I like this painting of the women looking wistfully at the house. Or maybe she’s casing the joint, waiting for the owners to leave so she can go in and rob the place?

    I would love to have summers off too. But I wouldn’t be able to stand the kids and would probably end of killing one of them. I would then spend ALL of my summers, winters, springs and falls incarcerated in a correctional facility. I’d bet I’d be able to get a lot of reading done.

  4. lbtowers says:

    Yeah, I can relate Bill. Just yesterday, I read one of my short stories to a couple of friends, and they couldn’t tell me what the hell it was about. Zilch attention span running rampant through society. But these were ADULTS.

    And I LOVE this painting. Really nice except I would like to see a little more building painting to the right of the woman. She feels a little too close to the edge for comfort. Then again, I can relate to that too.

  5. Bonnie Luria says:

    Nice work here Bill. She’s a bit mysterious.
    I really like the way you did the pattern in the dress. It recedes and is prominent just where it should be.

    You should be reading to adults and not kids. They don’t get your sardonic humor and sarcastic, acerbic wit.

  6. Rebecca says:

    I speed read the entire 2500 page Norton Anthology in college one night before the test, hopped up on beer and no-doze. Dante was a dreamer.

    As an art major and a comedian (to me), I painted my interpretation of Dante’s Inferno, an outhouse, on fire, chained and padlocked, with a REALLY long (miles)line trying to get to it. (I also was a speed painter, carrying wet paintings across campus to class after a late night of inspiration), or what some would call “cramming” only with wet paint.

    I like the shadows of the trees on the house. I like shadows. Very nice, Bill.

  7. It is a wonderful painting….

    Thank goodness you made a different career choice… PS… You DID know that there is no pay for that summer off, didn’t you???

  8. wrjones says:

    Diana – Let me get this straight. You like reading to those little criminals? My goodness I bet you would like pulling out old fence posts as well.

    100swallows – thanks.

    Carol – I like your always upbeat outlook. I do have a monitor ever since my group returned to class with unexplained bruises. I’ve always been of the school that whacking a kid with a cane is good for what ails them.

    Lisa – I know exactly what you mean. I also was completely taken aback, and flummoxed by Susan’s inability to answer your simple question. I knew the answer of course, but did not want Susan to feel she was the odd big dummy out so to speak. Maybe if your story were not quite so obtuse she would have had a chance at guessing what the hell you were talking about.

    Bonnie – thanks so much for the wonderful advise. I tried reading Penthouse to the receptionist at work. Now I get the whole summer off without pay.

    Rebecca – thanks. Is that Norton book up to date on viruses?

    Marian – WHAT? No pay for the summer off? What is the point of being a teacher then? I can have all year with no pay as a painter.

  9. Barbara Pask says:

    Wonderful painting Bill. One of those paintings you stand in front of and try to figure out the story behind it. Should enter this one in a show.

  10. Anna Surface says:

    A beautiful painting, beautifully composed. A story with an untold story. Love it. :)

  11. Lori says:

    Thats a great painting Bill, I get all kinds of ideas from it, did she get dumped by the rich boyfriend who lives in the house and now is reduced to teaching small children? Now she lurks outside on the way home from substitute teaching.

    Or is she just thinking that her husband needs to get off his duff and lay some sod in the yard?

    I always had good luck reading to little kids, I would read stuff like Dr. Seuss or comic books. I give them each a jelly bean before the story. Then if and only if they listen carefully and answer simple questions could they get another. You start off by the things the dog could answer. Like,”This story is about a cat in a hat!! What is this thing on top of the cat?” If they can’t answer that, you eat the jelly bean. Say how yummy it is. Ask them if they know what candy is. Paragraphs would be too long. I don’t think they make kids like they used to. I taught myself to read when I was four, my son was reading Dr.Seuss at 3.

  12. Jala Pfaff says:

    I simply cannot be around groups of kids. Even two kids is a group.
    You used to bother the girls in school? Gee, THAT is hard to believe! :)

  13. Jala Pfaff says:

    And I like the painting. Who is it? What’s its story?

  14. Amber says:

    Not only do I follow your blog for the beautiful work both you and Lisa do, but I mainly come to get a good laugh from your stories! I love them! :)

  15. wrjones says:

    Barbara – thanks.

    Anna – thanks. Make up a story for me.

    Lori – I’m not giving my candy to any kids no matter how many answers they get right. They will have to make do with a little star by their name.

    Jala – I’m totally with you on this issue. Let’s go to an adults only bar.

    Amber – thanks. I’m running out of stories, you got any you want to share?

  16. Bill, With the state of the state, you would’nt want to be a teacher and if you were, you’d probably would get your ass laid off cuz there ain’t no money ta pay ya. Is it layed or laid? Too bad I wasn’t listening when I was in school!

  17. Hey Bill. i have a first grader, and yes, 30-45 minutes is an eternity at that age! In your painting, I really like how you have the woman looking into the painting. . . makes me look into it too, and want to know more of what’s going on. Holly

  18. wrjones says:

    David – I have been trying my damnest to get laid. So all you have to do is be a California teacher. OK, maybe those little bastards aren’t so bad after all.

    Thanks, Holly. I first grader, you poor thing. You are probably proud as a peacock over the sweet litte tyke. This is God’s screwing with mom hormones to keep you from seeing the evil child as he really is. An instrument of the devil.

  19. Wonder what she is looking at? Great painting, really like the blouse and hair. Pretty cool of you reading to the little guys like that.

  20. wrjones says:

    Preston – thanks. I hate those little buggers. I only read to them because they have a cute teacher.

  21. rahinaqh says:

    You’ve caught the bewitching hour here, or so it seems to me, with the reflected light from the shirt and building. Had quite a few laughs reading through some of your antics (though the most recent item about disabilities saddened me) r.

  22. rgarriott says:

    Geez, what’d you do to p*ss off your mom that she’d give your daughter your old reports cards?

    I guess the nuns at my old catholic school were right… it all DOES go on our permanant records (I shudder at the thought).

    Love your outrageously funny (and truthful) take on the world. Rant on…!

  23. wrjones says:

    Rahinagh – Don’t be sad. The incident was true. The handicapped can often do wonderful work. This I felt was a misuse of an employee. There have been comments that I should not have been asking for information because he was just a greeter. Maybe I misunderstood the job description. I guess if he was supposed to stand there and say hi, he was doing a fine job.

  24. Wonderful painting. You are deep, Bill, deep.

  25. Very impressive and interesting blog. The art work is outstanding. Thank you for visiting my blog. Your words are very encouraging.

    Best Regards

  26. Dawn says:

    I also love this painting. It does more than please the eye. It also makes you think about what she is thinking about and what the story is. Kudos again!

  27. wrjones says:

    Aletha – thanks, I think? My mother used to say I was full of shit. I’m hoping deep doesn’t have a similar meaning.

    Joan – thank you and glad you came by.

    Dawn – Thanks. I hope to see some more of your work soon!!

  28. Merde? Au contraire, Bill, you are deep like a river — or like a wonderful mystery … in this painting especially. AK

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