I immigrated to America when I was ten years old from Korea. I still vividly remember the fear and anxiety of learning English as my second language. I think growing up, understanding and learning numbers came much more naturally than language arts. I read a lot in Korean when I was young before I moved to America, but honestly, I never liked to read and write in English because it was much more difficult to understand and I found myself frustrated to read at a slower pace. Reading and writing was always a struggle because I was never good at it and never felt confident in English. I studied Engineering for my undergrad, and I think I only had to write two essays during my entire undergrad curriculum. I struggled as I went through M.Div study because every classwork was based on reading, writing, and critical thinking. I never had to dig deep with reading and writing because l was able to cruise through life with just my elementary reading and writing skills. As I struggled to read through the book “How to read a book” (I never imagined anyone ever wrote a book on the subject of reading a book and taking notes, and I wish I picked it up a lot earlier in life), I would classify myself as a beginner in learning to read like an analytical reader. Previously, I read and process a lot of information based on inspectional reading level. I tried applying the principles of finding key sentences, propositions, arguments, and solutions, but I found myself having a difficult time trying. It felt challenging, a little anxious, and uncomfortable trying to apply the analytical skills as I read.
I enjoyed reading through “the miniature guide to critical thinking” because it was a whole lot thinner, and it included more visual diagrams. I think my mind is more accustomed and attracted to seeing and analyzing diagrams and pictures. As I read through the first three books on the reading list, a question continued to pop up. My mind kept wondering how much of the emerging generation loves to read and write. I thought of my son Jayden who is ten years old, because he barely reads any physical paper book. He is watching, reading a lot of stuff, and learning through watching. I think it’s not just kids who are learning and absorbing information through the media. Everyone is more comfortable learning through YouTube tutorials. Personally speaking too, my brain is also becoming more comfortable reading less, thinking less, and just responding to more visual images. I pondered with many different emotions and thoughts as I read through “Steal like an artist.” First, I thought that it was a new form in communicating the author’s message. He was trying to communicate ten principles that will help the readers to be more creative. But instead of writing out all of his points and message in elaborate paragraphs, the author used black and white contrast filled with huge-sized fonts and lots of images. It felt more like a PowerPoint presentation in black and white, not so much of paragraphs of Words, but more of clear images to deliver the author’s main ideas. I reflected upon my lifestyle because it doesn’t involve communication through essays and paragraphs anymore. My entire life, other than the M.Div time, I didn’t have to struggle with grammar and critical writing. I feel much more comfortable communicating through short paragraphs and images. As I venture on the next two years, I believe the challenges of reading and writing at the next levels will push me to grow and overcome some of the fears and anxiety I still struggle with when it comes to reading and writing.