4 Easy Ways to Enhance Your Reading Experience
Last Sunday I had the amazing opportunity to chat with someone I respectfully dubbed the "Queen of Classic Lit" on Pretty Literate's weekly Facebook Live at 5. (If you missed it, click here to catch the replay. You will be so glad you did!)
Toward the end of the Facebook Live, the Queen of Classic Lit and I connected over a shared admiration of Charlotte Mason, a British educator in rural England during the 1800's through the early 1900's who espoused a view of education that has become known as the Charlotte Mason Method. Simply and succinctly put, the Charlotte Mason Method pivots around the central idea that "education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
That conversation left me pondering all week what Charlotte Mason means to me now. Not as a parent. Not as an educator. What does Charlotte Mason mean to me as an adult reader?
Simply put, here are 4 Easy Ways to Enhance Your Reading Experience that we can take away from the 19th Century British Educator Charlotte Mason.
Be more attentive.
I know that sounds simple, but in an age of to-be-read piles, speed reading, and with an eye to the quantity of books being consumed, attentiveness is something that deserves a closer look.
What would it look like to be a more attentive reader? Being more attentive to the characters. Being more attentive to where the author is directing our attention. Being more attentive to the setting & what was going on in the world into which the story is set. Being more attentive to our own reactions (eg. sober self-reflection). In short, we would ruminate & ponder a while before moving on to the next book in our TBR piles.
Each and every book we read has the potential to affect the reader's character. Let's allow each piece of literature the time to help us develop and deepen our own.
Be a lifelong learner.
What would it look like to adopt learning as a lifestyle? We would be more open to new ideas & different perspectives. We would intentionally read more broadly. We would expand our thinking. We would be more willing to read authors that make us uncomfortable, or subject matter that illuminates perspectives not our own. We would welcome the opportunity to get to know characters with whom we share nothing in common. We would accept the invitation to walk a mile in another's shoes. We would engage our critical thinking, employ our empathy, and embrace the possibility of change.
Each and every book we read has the potential to teach the reader something new. Let us allow the literature we read to water our growth.
Be a writer.
The benefits of journaling are many (stress relief, self-reflection, greater creativity...), but the benefits of journaling what you're reading are infinite! Journaling while you are entrenched in a book helps you process what you're reading more thoroughly and accurately. Journaling increases your own communication skills, both written and verbally. It gives a much needed memory boost. Journaling your way through literature helps you to take a more active role in reading, questioning the writer's assertions (rather than passively accepting them).
Each and every book we read has the potential to increase the reader's personal communication skills. Let's encourage that personal growth by interacting with the literature we read through the act of journaling.
Choose quality books. Books written in narrative form by someone with a passion for the topic makes the subject matter come alive. Quality classic literature is a masterful example of this. Like primary documents, classic literature was written by people who lived in a time period not our own. The authors of classic literature share through narrative what life was like in their day for a particular segment of the society in which (in most cases) they lived.
Each and every book we read has the potential to change the reader - for better, or for worse. Let us, then, be choosy about the books we read.
Wondering where to start?