I know what you are thinking… You are a writer, a teacher, of course you think reading is cool.
But hold on, this post is not just about how reading helps in academics or in writing.
Even though it is true… this post is about how reading is cool.
The first reason reading is cool is because it generates unexpected thoughts. When reading a new book you will come across a line or section that makes you think about something you would not have thought about on your own. A simple line can set you off on deeper paths of thinking. A paragraph can elicit emotions or bring you to a new understanding of yourself or the world. I’ve experienced this lately.
While reading a book of poetry by A.E. Housman I came across the line above. The line challenged me emotionally, so much so I had to make a creative picture quote of it. Poetry hasn’t been the only text to challenge me. Stephen King’s book, The Outsider, has generated a sense of frustration. And that is a good thing. Without giving away the book, the story is a great example of Dramatic Irony, where the reader knows something the characters of the book don’t. By reading I get to understand myself a little better because of this emotion. I get the chance to work through why I am frustrated. Reading gives us opportunities to be challenged, to learn more about ourselves. That is cool, but it is cooler to share that experience.
The second reason reading is cool because it can be a shared experience. There is nothing like handing a person a book to read, then talking about it later. There is a different connection when people read something together because of the emotions and thoughts that they can share. One of the cool things I enjoy as a teacher is reading with students. Even though there are grades involved with studying literature, most times students enjoy the discussions that center around their thoughts and emotions.
The shared experience goes beyond the classroom, I shared in a past post (“The Why”) how a former student had a dad moment that spurred a memory from a book we read in class. The shared experience of reading is timeless. It is like a literary photograph. We can mention a book or poem and the memories flood the conversation.
Reading is important for a number of reasons. But reading is cool! Reading allows us to think of ideas we wouldn’t normally consider. Reading can make us feel emotions. Yet, the coolest part is reading can be a shared experience that connects us through those emotions and thoughts.
Below I share 5 works (in no particular order) you can read to connect with me, then share your thoughts in the comments. I can’t wait to read about what you thought.
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- “The American Scholar” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes
- Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
- A.D. After Death by Scott Snyder (Writer) and Jeff Lemire (Artist)