here’s a world of difference between knowing what a sentence says and what it means. The majority of people make their way through a book by simply processing the text on the page. They follow the dotted line from one plot point to the next and, by the end, walk away with a general understanding of what happened in the story.
Reading for plot isn’t always a problem. Sometimes you just want to kick back with a fun story, after all. The issues arise when such shallow readings are being taught in school.
Now more than ever, literature teachers are encouraged to assess their students based more on reading comprehension than their ability to develop and defend interpretations of a book. This mindset conditions young readers to overlook important questions, such as those about the author’s intent, a book’s historical context, or even its overall message and themes.
In a world that places increasingly more importance on STEM fields with each passing year, it’s important not to forget the benefits of a literary education. Even Albert Einstein, despite his image as poster boy for the sciences, spoke often and passionately about the importance of the humanities. He pointed out their ability to generate cultural understanding. And how they train the mind to think independently, to be curious about the world and how it works.
These are critical skills. Because no matter who you are, where you live, or how you make a living, independent thinkers have an easier time adapting to an ever-changing world. And these day, that’s more important than ever.
A book can be a treasure trove of information, but without the proper tools, you’ll only walk away with half of its riches. So, whether you’re just starting your journey into the humanities or you’ve been a student of literature for years, the following articles provide tools to help you discover everything a book has to offer.
We may Read for Enjoyment,
But Literature isn’t Written Just to Entertain Us.