Reading Efficiency

I teach reading comprehension and critical thinking at a community college. 

I teach reading comprehension to college students because an increasing amount of college freshmen are underprepared for college level reading.  This is hardly news, but I still get surprised looks from people when I tell them I teach reading comprehension at a community college.  My course provides reading improvement to students who are virtual non-readers (functionally illiterate), as well as others, who simply need to acquire greater focus and comprehension skills to read more efficiently.

In fact, many people may not read as efficiently as they realize.  We live in a world with an emphasis on instant access.  It stands to reason that students think they shouldn’t have to put any effort or concentration into reading.

The timed reading portion of the ACT , for example, emphasizes that students should be able to read quickly.  Granted, there is an eventual need to amp up one’s reading rate, but we expect many of our young people to be able to do this when they don’t have efficient comprehension skills nailed down.  Students are routinely tested on their reading rate throughout their elementary educations.  If a 3rd-grader can read quickly at a 3rd-grade reading level, what difference does this make?  Shouldn’t the educative emphasis be on forming a habit of reading in a thoughtful, meaningfilled manner?  If a student isn’t yet reading at a level high enough to contain any substantial, meaningful content, reading rate is irrelevant.

If we get students to read thoughtfully first, their thinking skills will improve and increased reading rates will come when the time is right–when the student is a fully efficient reader.

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Southern Tomato Art

I was raised by a sweet-but-sassy southern woman.

For my mama, the only way to eat a homegrown tomato was to peel it, slice it, sprinkle it with salt, and dig in.

To her, peeling and slicing a homegrown tomato was an artform.  It was an artform, that is, if you lightly removed the skin and sliced into it with only the sharpest of paring knives, making thin medallions that were just thick enough to retain their shape.  Thin, but not falling apart.

If, however, you were fool enough to treat a holy homegrown tomato in any other way, it was a sin against God and nature–and you must be a complete sh**head or, more likely, from some place–any place–outside of Georgia.

Thanks, Mama, for teaching me the proper way to peel and slice a tomato.  🙂

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Fried Green Tomatoes

I’ve had a craving for comfort food this week.

My garden has no shortage of green tomatoes right now due to the drought, so twice this week I made fried green tomatoes. They’ve really hit the spot!

On this particular evening, I also made fried pork chops with homemade gravy and garlic mashed potatoes. I don’t usually make fried foods, so I really felt the need to steam a few fresh veggies to “counteract” the cholesterol (wishful thinking)!

I also came up with a homemade chipolte sauce to drizzle on the fried tomatoes.  It’s a great compliment to the “green” taste of the tomatoes, and my hubby can’t get enough of it.

Fried Green Tomatoes:

2 green tomatoes

1/3 C. flour

1/3 C. corn meal

TB. corn starch

salt & pepper (to taste)

1/2 C. vegetable oil

Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat.  Slice tomatoes thinly–about 1/4 inch–and discard top and bottom slices.  In shallow dish, mix together flour, corn meal and starch, and salt & pepper.  Coat tomato slices in the mixture until thoroughly covered.  Sprinkle a bit more salt and pepper on each slice.  Once oil is hot, drop coated slices into the pan.  Fry about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Use metal tongs to place slices on paper towel-lined plate.

Chipolte Sauce:

1 C. cold buttermilk

1 C. mayonnaise

2 TB. cultured buttermilk blend

1 tsp. dijion mustard

1 TB. Frank’s Red Hot sauce

2 TB. sugar

1/2 tsp. chipolte powder

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

dash of dry mustard

dash of salt & pepper

Whisk all ingredients until thoroughly blended.  Funnel into a plastic squeeze bottle, and refrigerate until ready to use.  Drizzle over plated fried green tomatoes and serve.

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meaningful + fulfilled = meaningfulfilled

Welcome to meaningfulfilled, where all things meaningful and all things fulfilling are discussed. 

Life can quickly pass us by, so it is important to reduce stress and focus on the truly important things.  The world has so many interesting opportunities for each of us, so why focus on just one subject.  The goal of this blog is to explore a variety of topics, but primarily from a female point of view.

My name is Anne.  I like to consider myself a well-rounded individual.  I have many interests; this has always been the case.  At first, I wanted to create a blog about only one of my passions—food—partly because that seems to be a very popular blog topic these days, but that just isn’t solely who I am.  Like so many women of my generation, I have lots of “layers!”  I am an avid reader, a fierce feminist, a political conservative, a home decorator, a dedicated educator, a great cook, a loving wife, an affectionate mother, a devoted daughter, a natural gardener, a fun-loving gamer, a degreed historian, a philosophy addict, an obsessive organizer, a fair-minded boss, a no-longer-practicing musician, and an aspiring author.

I hope you will find a variety of interesting subjects here.  Posts will be subject to the events of the day, as well as general topics of interest to any thinking woman or man.  I know there are plenty of people out there who are multifaceted and looking for more meaning and fulfillment in a world obsessed with “fluff,” shallowness, and sensationalism.  I enjoy entertainment, but celebrities and “reality” TV stars are not my role models.  I have favorite actors and musicians, and I may even blog about them from time to time, but they are not the “meat and potatoes” of my life.  Most radio talk-show hosts annoy me with their over-inflated egos and irreverent approach to important issues.

It isn’t that I don’t enjoy a good time, because I absolutely love to laugh!  So, meaningfulfilled is NOT a site that takes itself too seriously.  Frivolity and laughter help to fulfill the human spirit.  At times, the human condition would be almost unbearable if one did not have a sense of humor! 

Likewise, I am a very feminine female.  My nails are always done.  I don’t leave the house without make-up.  I adore pretty clothes, and I never met a bracelet or ring I didn’t like.  But, I just don’t enjoy talking about those things, so I most likely won’t be blogging about them.  No offense to women who do enjoy discussing beauty and fashion, though; I DO enjoy reading and following other bloggers who focus on these things. 

I am so “philosophically-bent” (as a professor once told me) that I can’t help but lean toward deep “conversation” and away from “small-talk.”  And likely, that is the general vibe you’ll get from this site.

All in all, I guess what I’m trying to say is that you will find a little bit of everything here.  Individual pages are dedicated to a variety of subjects, but all are things that I feel have helped—in some small or large way—to make my life more meaningful or more fulfilled. 

Maybe someone else out there will find that them just as meaningful and fulfilling.


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