Good Actors, Bad Readers

One of the major problems I face with my drama team is that they are barely literate. When I pass out a new sketch the read through is brutal. Here are some of the words that caused a problem tonight: elated, status quo, perplexed, inspiring, unnerved, longevity, prognosis, angelic, fodder, and colliding. These words weren’t just words that they had a hard time reading they were words that these guys didn’t know. I spent half of the night not working on acting, but giving a vocabulary lesson. It is very frustrating.

Of course the worst part is when I told the guy that elated meant very happy he said, "Why can’t I just say very happy?" Why? Because words have power and you should know words that paint the picture of how you feel and what you are thinking. That is what I wanted to say, but by that time I was so tired I just said "Say they word and don’t worry about it." UGH! 

14 thoughts on “Good Actors, Bad Readers

  1. -B says:

    Alright, so I understand "UGH!" indeed paints a picture of how you feel, but would you consider that a powerful word? I mean, it’s no titillate or onomatopoeia. Actually, it may be an onomatopoeia…. Is it, Andy?

    So, did you get your PS3? Surely, you were one of those guys in the tents.

  2. Andy Crouch says:

    Errr, ummm ….sure, seems like onomatopoeia to me.

    Shane, I think the shrinking vocabulary is a direct result of the lack of reading these days. I rarely come across anyone that likes to read a good book anymore, especially anyone below the age of 25.

  3. The Average Youth Minister says:

    Some missions organizations are starting to refer to American youth as "post-literate" they can read, but the printed word doesn’t really grab them enough for them to make it a regular practice.

    Since I don’t think I am going to fix the problem of literacy in the deep south I need some ideas on how to teach new drama without the problems of poor reading. Any ideas?

  4. Andy Crouch says:

    Many have tried, many have failed. Reading is Fundamental, Hooked on Phonics, LeVar Buron, and Bill Cosby. It’s a tough situation, what with all those excellent TV shows and video games out there these days…

  5. jonathan says:

    Shaine, man, thatt iz a funnie read. I feehl yur fustrahshion…kidz theise dayz are gust lazieei and dhumb. thanxs fer charing that storie.

  6. The Average Youth Minister says:

    I don’t think they are either lazy or dumb, but for some reason the culture that they walk in doesn’t place a very high value on reading. I just don’t understand why.

  7. Allie H says:

    I would say UGH is a very powerful word. A simple way of describing utter disgust and frustration. Sometimes simple is best. Don’t ya think?

  8. -B says:

    It would depend on whether the UGH were in all caps or not, and on how many exclamation points follow it. Indeed, simple is best sometimes. However, it’s like I tell some parents I know that scream at their kids all the time. When you do it ALL the time, they just think that’s the way you communicate. So I guess UGH could be considered powerful, so long as it was not used too frequently.

  9. jonathan says:

    Shane, I don’t think they are lazy or dumb. Guess I didn’t misspell enough words to make my point. (My feeble attempt to be funny.)

  10. The Average Youth Minister says:

    Jonathan, I got your joke, but I have spent too much time trying to defend crap on this blog to trust that everyone else will get it.

    I have found that too many people read something and stop at one word that bugs them and they miss the whole context. So I was trying to make sure I didn’t have a whole slew of people taking things the wrong way.

  11. Michelle says:

    Aren’t YOU missing the whole point? Focussing on such a tiny thing! This isn’t what matters, people! Getting out there and showing people compassion, being a servant of all people, working in a homeless shelter and doing hands on stuff to be a Christian is what matters!! I don’t recall Jesus saying anywhere in the Bible "Now make sure you dot your "i"s and cross your "t"s!!! Jesus’ most important law was "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself’" Mark 12:30- part of 31
    So whinge whinge, Shane Yancy, you obviously don’t have true perspective about what’s important either. Try focussing on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. After all, how would you accomplish anything if everyone focussed on YOUR weaknesses, rather than your strengths. Well it’s obvious that WHINGING is one of your main weaknesses, that’s for sure! I can’t believe you actually had a whinge-fest on-line about this! Call yourself a Christian! Now if there’s ANYTHING that annoys me, it’s Christians that whinge!! (Haha, did you get that attempt at humour, Jonathon? I loved yours! I thought what you wrote was hilarious!!). Seriously, though, Christians above all, should be more understanding of people and less whingey!

    P.S. Andy, you old fogey, I am under 25, read plenty of books, and can spell a heck of a lot better than most people over 25 that I know. And if you want to play the ‘patronising game’, then lets just think about why kids nowadays have trouble with drugs, alcohol, illiteracy and all the other things that old ‘fogeys’ like you (to generalise and patronise, as you do!) complain about all the time! It’s because their ‘old fogey’ parents should never have even had kids because they don’t know how to parent them properly, and half of them are the people who introduce drugs, alcohol and illiteracy to these kids in the first place. Watch "Supernanny" and you’ll see just a minute portion of bad parenting. Or is that not acceptable because it’s a television show rather than a book. Well GUESS WHAT. There IS a book. READ IT! And by the way, if you don’t know what an ‘Old fogey’ is, then that’s because you are one! Don’t dish it if you can’t take it! And DON’T patronise people like that, because we’re just going to patronise you right back! You age-ist old geyser!! (haha, there’s another one for you, Jonathon! Feel free to quote me!)
    Don’t worry, you can put this all down to the fact that I’m young and know nothing about the world and that I should be seen and not heard. But part of this message, at least, should make sense to all reasonable people (if they are truly honest with themselves).

    My email’s ‘’ if you wish to give your condescending responses to any of the above things that I’ve said. And if you wish to give any other kind of response, you can also contact me at that address. And Jonathon, you’re a clown! I respect your sense of humour and light-heartedness. Good on you! (Australian slang).

  12. The Average Youth Minister says:

    Dang. Michelle went off.
    (by the way, my whole reason for doing the blog part of this site is so I can whine about ministry. I love doing it. I give my life to it, but sometimes people just need a place to vent and be real. So this is where I whine)

    But you are right Andy is an old fogey.

  13. -B says:

    When we were in high school (many moons ago), wasn’t that girl referring to Andy, when she asked if he was our dad? I think so.

    What are you doing up before noon, anyway, Shane?

  14. Andrew says:

    Nope, I was the dad.

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