Thursday, January 17, 2013

Phonetics, swimming and the modern world.

One of the many pejorative things I've taken to saying about clients is that they don't know how to read.

I don't mean they can't read a stop sign or microwave cooking instructions, but that they don't know how to fathom thoughts and stories in a sequential way.

For instance, if you wrote the words "Don't worry" in copy, chances are they would ask you to re-write it without the word "Don't." Don't they regard as a "negative."

What occurs to me is that clients--and most people--don't know how to handle things sequentially. To break them down into component parts and add them up again.

Here's a for instance I remember from more than 20 years ago.

My daughter was in summer camp. She was just five years old and she was afraid she would be unable to complete the seven swimming laps she needed to swim in order to be allowed to go into the deep-end of the lake.

"Dad," she said, holding back tears, "I can't swim seven laps."

"Sarah, you don't have to swim seven laps. Swim one lap, breathe, then swim another. Then when you're done with that lap, breathe and swim another."

Of course, she passed her test with flying colors.

Fifty some years ago when I learned to read, we learned phonetics.

We didn't read all at once.

We broke things down into pieces.

And then we put them back together.

This breaking down and assembling is lost today.

We stop at the first syllable and say "that doesn't make sense."

Communicating, understanding, comprehending demands the ability to break things apart and put them back together again.

Get it?


Anonymous said...
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Steve St. Clair said...

I think two things have happened that have lead to this.

1. All media is now a commodity.
2. People feel like they don't have time to read, focus, or learn to write.