In search of a good book that is not about vampires or unrealistic teen romances? I’ve got you covered. Not only will these five good reads be precisely that (good reads), but they will also contribute significantly to whatever it is you are studying in English class, by virtue of their complex character development, plots, use of allegory, and general good writing.
[Continue reading about good reads!]
I’m here to teach you how to read.
Yeah, you heard me right. Kindergarten may seem like a fond, distant dream, but I’m not talking about ABC’s and phonetics. I’m talking about reading. Let me explain myself.
In fifth grade, you probably enjoyed Because of Winn-Dixie. You received a numbered copy along with everyone else in your class and merrily charted the adventures of Winn-Dixie and company through pop quizzes, simple study guides, and big posters with lots of glue and (maybe) glitter. In middle and junior high school, things became more demanding. Analyzing humans instead of dogs, you learned how to read for ‘plot,’ and ‘metaphor,’ and ‘conflict.’ Even if you were making posters at the end, you learned how to discuss, make arguments, and find hidden meanings in the text. By high school, you are doing even more. By senior year, you may be handed a poem or a passage from a text under the instruction to critically read.
This is the type of reading I’m here to teach you about today. There is a difference between Winn-Dixie and critically reading. While the former is crucial for your foundation in reading—really learning how to enjoy a good story—the latter is fundamental to your high school, college, and professional career.
[Find out HOW critical reading works]
by Kathleen McGunagle
At a 2008 Freshman Convocation for the Catholic University of America, English professor Michael Mack delivered an address entitled: “Why Read Shakespeare?”: A Real Question and the Search for a Good Answer.” In his thoughtful address, Professor Mack emphasizes Shakespeare’s relevance to basic human existence.
“[Shakespeare] is for anyone who is interested in navigating the real world,” Mack asserts. “By getting to know Shakespeare, you have a tremendous opportunity for getting to know yourself.”
Other blogs, articles, and columns (including one shy thread on Yahoo! Answers) cite Shakespeare’s use of complex characters, brilliant lyric, intriguing plots, and the plays’ historicity. Lars Nilsen, in Badass Digest, even goes so far as to say: “You should read Shakespeare because he tells a better story than any other author, any filmmaker, anyone at all, because he tells your story.”
But at the end of the day, why should you pick up that dusty copy of Much Ado About Nothing? Why soldier through the life-and-death pondering of Hamlet? What do a pair of star-crossed lovers have anything to do with the 21st century with its i-phones and i-schedules and i-don’t-have-time-for-xyz’s?
Everything. Professor Mack is right: Shakespeare teaches you about the world, particularly the one that will be opening up for you very soon. College. And I don’t just mean in English 101.
[Continue reading to learn about HOW Shakespeare teaches you about the world]