Reading Merit Badge – Maybe you have enjoyed books, magazines, and the internet for years, without ever thinking of reading as a skill you have mastered, just as carpenters who build the frameworks of houses use skills the have mastered.
When you first went to school (whether you knew it at the time), your teacher’s most important goal was teaching you how to read.
Reading specialists have developed countless ways to teach reading. You were taught by one method or maybe more than one, especially if your family moved and you changed schools.
What were you learning as you began to master the skill of reading? Basically, reading is making sense out of symbols that in combinations become words and in combinations of words become sentences.
Over time, you identify the symbols or letters without being consciously aware that you are making an identification. When you see as a g. You learned the meaning of that symbol.
Reading Merit Badge Requirements
- Do EACH of the following:
- Take a tour of a library. Discuss with your counselor how the library is organized and what resources and/or services are offered in the library.
- Learn how to search a library’s card catalog or computerized catalog by author, title, and subject.
- In a library, search the card catalog or computerized catalog for six books of four different types, such as poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and biographies.
- With the assistance of your merit badge counselor or the librarian, see if you can locate on the shelves the six books you selected.
- Do EACH of the following:
- Identify a book you have enjoyed. Find out what other books the author has written.
- Look at one or more “best books” lists. These can be based on year, subject, or even all-time. Identify at least one book you would like to read.
- Read four different types of books, such as poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or biographies. Do any ONE of the following for each book you have read:
- Write a review of the book. Include what you liked/didn’t like about the book. Include if you would recommend this book, and if so, who might enjoy reading it.
- Watch a movie based on the book. What was the same between the book and the movie? What was different? Which did you enjoy more? Discuss this with your merit badge counselor.
- Give a “book talk” to your class, troop, or patrol.
- Read a nonfiction book or magazine that teaches you how to do something like cooking, wood-building projects, video game design, science experiments, knot-tying, etc. With your counselor’s and parent’s or guardian’s permission, complete a project from the book. Share your experience with your merit badge counselor. Reading a merit badge pamphlet will not count toward completing this requirement.
- Read about the world around you from any two sources: books, magazines, newspapers, the internet (with your parent’s or guardian’s permission), field manuals, etc. Topics may include Scouting, sports, environmental problems, politics, social issues, current events, nature, religion, etc. Discuss what you have learned with your counselor.
- With your counselor’s and parent’s or guardian’s permission, choose ONE of the following activities, and devote at least four hours of service to that activity. Discuss your participation with your counselor.
- Read to a sick, blind, or homebound person in a hospital or in an extended-care facility.
- Perform volunteer work at your school library or a public library.
- Read stories to younger children, in a group or individually.
- Organize a book swap in your troop, school, or place of worship.
- Organize a book drive to collect books. Donate them to an organization in need.
Reading for Information
For requirement 2 you will research subjects that interest you. You can pick any current topic, but your reading selections for requirement 2 will be mostly, if not entirely, nonfiction.
You are looking for facts and information. Your goal is to learn about the world around you by reading the most accurate and up-to-date sources you can find.
Your search probably will take you back to the library, where you will find a great variety of materials-not only books, but also newspapers, magazines, videos, CDs, maps, photographs, online resources, and more.
1. What Do You Want to Know?
Maybe there is some particular topic you have wanted to learn about but have never found anybody to ask. Or perhaps there is a topic with which you are familiar but want to know more about.
Or there is something you want to want to know how to do or make. Whatever subject interests you, you’re almost certain to find that many people have written about it.
Here are some examples of topics many young people are curious about. If your choice is not on the list, add it!
- Mysteries such as the Loch Ness monster, crop circles, Stonehenge
- Fossils and dinosaurs
- Mummies and ancient Egypt
- Castles, knights, the Middle Ages
- Politics and world events
- Nations, cultures, religions
- Sports and athletes
- Travel and faraway places
- Music, art, photography, movies
- Colleges and universities
- Animals and nature
- Robots, computers, electronics
- Artificial intelligence
- Machines, automobiles, aircraft
- Earthquakes, volcanoes, other natural disasters
- Ocean exploration, living beneath the sea
- Astronomy, Hubble Space Telescope
- Asteroids, comets, near-Earth object (NEOs)
- Environmental issues
- Living in space, International Space Station
- The outdoor, hiking, camping
- Famous people
- Wilderness survival
- Fitness and health
- How to handle problems of growing up, peer approval and pressure, self-esteem
- How to deal with family issues, problems, divorce, substance abuse
2. Reading to Know
With your topic in mind, you’re ready to find your sources and read up on it. Here’s a look at some different resources you might use.
- Encyclopedias. A general encyclopedia will give you basic facts or background information about many subjects. Information can change quickly, so use a good, up-to-date encyclopedia, whether it’s printed in 30 volumes or contained on a single compact disc.
- Specialized Reference Works. Reference books, electronic databases, and other general information sources help organize vast amounts of information to make specific facts faster and easier to find.
- Magazines and Newspapers. For the most up-to-date coverage of your subject, read articles and editorials in magazines and newspapers. Your library probably has a selection of general interest magazines and local or major newspapers from which to choose the part of your reading for requirement 2.
- Books. Books have been written about every subject. Search for them using either the library card catalog or computerized catalog as you learned for requirement 1a.
- Internet. The internet is a vast collection of information. Get your parent’s permission to use the internet and ask your parent, counselor, or librarian to help you find what you need.
3. Getting the Facts
For requirement 1, the goal of your reading was a pleasure. You read for fun. You will also have fun, of course, with your reading for requirement 2. But what you are mainly after now is information.
To get it, you may dip into various sources, reading parts of them but not reading them all cover to cover.
You wouldn’t read an entire guidebook about the Everglades, you wouldn’t need to read every article in a magazine to get the one story in it about your chosen topic.
On the other hand, you have to pay attention when you are reading for information. Take time to be sure you understand what you are reading. Ask yourself:
- What key ideas and specific facts have i learned from this article (or page, paragraph, chapter, etc.)?
- Do I understand these ideas and what they mean?
- Do they answer my questions about this subject?
Re-read any part that is not clear to you. Take notes to help you keep track of what you understand and what you don’t, and to identify which of your questions have been answered and which have not.
Something you read may raise new questions, sending you off to other resources in search of the answers.
4. The Power of Words
Mark Twain remarked: “A powerful agent is the right word. Whenever we come upon one of those intensely right words in a book or a newspaper the resulting effect is physical as well as spiritual, and electrically prompt.”
Language is rich with “intensely right words.” As you read, whether for pleasure or to get information, be aware of the words. If you find one you don’t know, look it up in a dictionary or thesaurus.
In your log, keep a “cool words” list. When you come across an interesting new word or a catchy saying or phrase, add it to your list.
You will discover that as your vocabulary grows, reading will become easier and more fun. You will understand more of what you read and you’ll be comfortable reading material written for any age group.
5. Fill in the Blanks
You probably have spent time filling out forms for school, for scouting, for camp, and for other activities.
It is important to be able to read written instructions and follow them closely, whether you’re ordering a magazine subscription or completing a medical history.
If you make a mistake, your magazines may go to the wrong address, or you might get the wrong medical treatment.
Requirement 3a involves completing an order form for merchandise as if you intended to place an order.
Your counselor will go over the completed order form with you, checking to be sure you carefully read and followed the instructions for correctly filling out the form.
You may fill out a paper form from a mail-order catalog, magazine, or other printed item such as a sales flier. You may also fill out an online order form, as long as you are able to print the completed form to share and discuss with your counselor.
Take care to complete the order form neatly and accurately. Show your counselor that you have read the ordering instructions and followed the exactly.
Volunteering for Reading
For requirement 4, you are to give at least four hours of service as a reading volunteer. You will find many opportunities in your community to volunteer your time and your skills as a reader.
Talk with your counselor about the different kinds of volunteer service you might give. Because your counselor can help you match your interests and abilities to the needs of people in your community.
Be sure to get your parent’s permission for your chosen service activity.
1. Reading Aloud
Do you remember being read to when you were a little kid? Did you like it?
For many people, being read to is a favorite memory from childhood. If you have a little brother or sister, or if there are young kids in your neighborhood or your extended family, try reading aloud to them and see how quickly you become their favorite big brother.
Chances are, you’ll have even more fun than they will.
Reading aloud is a different skill from reading to yourself. To keep from losing your audience, you must read slowly. If you’re normally a fast talker, you may have to slow down your reading so much that to your own ears, at least you sound draggy.
Don’t worry. You won’t sound draggy to your listeners. They will follow the story much better if you go slowly, say every word, read with with enthusiasm, and insert a few pauses for dramatic effect.
Reading aloud takes practice. Before you read to an audience (of one listener of many), practice the material your have chosen.
Be sure you can pronounce all the words, including the characters names. Know where to put the pauses. Remember to read aloud the title and the name of the author (and the illustrator, if there is one).
This reminds your listeners where books come from authors write them!
2. Volunteering in a Library
Another way to fulfill requirement 4 is to volunteer in your school or public library. Working in the library will help you become familiar with how books are classified and arranged on the shelves and make it easier for you to find the books you want.
You also will discover other resources available in your library, which might include video, CDs, DVDs, books on tape, maps, photo collections, genealogy, local history collections, and computers.
As a library volunteer, depending on your age and grade level or experience, you might:
- Mend and cover books.
- Sort materials.
- Return books to their proper places on the shelves.
- Make or update displays, bulletin boards, or scrapbooks.
- Make signs, posters, and other artwork.
- Clip newspaper articles for local history files.
- Stuff envelopes for bulk mailings.
- Help set up or clean up for book sales and other special events.
- Assist with programs.
- Guide younger students in finding library resources to help with homework assignments.
- Stam date-due cards.
- Help in the children’s area with crafts and other activities.
Your school or public library probably has many positions open for young-adult volunteers. Just ask. Most librarians are happy to train their volunteer assistants.
Experience is usually not necessary, although computer skills are helpful for some library positions.