Tips for Actively Reading Any Piece of Literature

actively readingIt’s easy to get distracted when reading, especially in today’s digital society where something is always beeping, buzzing, or dinging. Our attentions are pulled in a million different directions. We could all use a little help when it comes to focusing on a single task. In this blog post, I’ll be discussing some tips on something we do every day: reading! And not just any type of reading, but actively reading.

Just like a great athlete must undergo deep practice to become skilled at his or her game, an expert reader must practice good habits when it comes to reading. Actively reading is akin to this type of deep practice.

Here are some podcasts with great literature suggestions.

Best Summer Reading

Helping Literal Thinkers with Literature Analysis

Literature In Your Homeschool

Tip #1: Set Yourself Up for Success

When I am actively reading something, I have pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, and an array of colored pencils by my side — these are my tools for success.

For example, if I actively read a novel, there are few pages that don’t have some underlined or circled word, a question scribbled in the margin, or a highlighted phrase. Come up with a process that works for you and find the tools that best suit it.

Tip #2: Ask Questions

An inquiring mind learns. In order for true knowledge acquisition to occur during an actively reading session, the reader must ask themselves questions to stay engaged with the literature.

Below, I have shared a series of questions that are useful for readers starting to actively read. My high school freshman English teacher used them to guide our literary learning throughout the year. They proved to be a great base for engaging with different texts and served me well after. These questions can be most readily applied to novels and poetry; however, they can be adapted to really any piece of literature. The questions are broken up into the following sections: characters, setting, plot, symbols and other devices, point of view, themes, irony, and newly imagined.

CHARACTER
• Who is the protagonist and who or what is the antagonist?
• What words come to mind when you think about the protagonist or the antagonist?
• How is he, she, or it characterized?
• What motivates this character’s actions?
• What is memorable about the character?
• Is the author’s depiction of the character the same throughout the entire text?
• Are there any surprises? If so what are they?

SETTING
• Where does the story take place? Is the setting: geographical, physical, magical, socio-economic, chronological?
• Locate and specify the various types of setting. What does such specific setting contribute to the overall effect of the story (thematically or in terms of character)?
• When the setting changes where does it change to and how does the change impact the story?

PLOT
• Briefly, what is going on?
• What structure does the story follow (e.g. Freytag)?
• Where in the story are the main points?
• What are the conflicts? Where in the story are they?
• Are the conflicts internal or external? Are they physical, intellectual, societal, moral, or emotional?
• Is the main conflict between sharply differentiated entities (e.g. good versus evil), or is it more subtle and complex?
• Does the plot have unity? Are all the episodes relevant to the total meaning or effect of the story?
• Is the ending happy, unhappy, or indeterminate? Is it fairly achieved?

SYMBOLS AND OTHER DEVICES
• Does the story make use of symbols?
• What kind does the author use (names, objects, actions)?
• What does each symbol mean?
• Does the symbol carry or merely reinforce the meaning of the story?
• What other devices does the author use (e.g. imagery, metaphor, personification, pathos, allusions, aphorisms)? How are they used? What meaning does their use lend to the story?

POINT OF VIEW
• What point of view does the story use?
• Is it consistent in its use of this point of view?
• If shifts in point of view are made are they justified?
• If the point of view is that of one of the characters does that character have any limitations that affect her/his interpretation of events or persons?

THEME
• Does the story have a theme?
• What is it? Is it implicit or explicit?
• Does the theme reinforce or oppose popular notions of life?
• Does it furnish a new insight or refresh or deepen an old one?
• Remember, a theme is an opinion rather like a thesis statement not simply a topic.

IRONY
• Does the story anywhere utilize irony? If so what kind and how? What functions do the ironies serve?

NEWLY IMAGINED
• Compared to other things you have read is there something new, unique, or different about the way the author presents this story or poem?

7 Benefits of Reading Classics

Finish Well Radio Badge, Podcast #060, 7 Benefits of Reading ClassicsIn “7 Benefits of Reading Classics” Episode #060, Meredith Curtis inspires you to read classics by explaining how enjoying great literature and living books will benefit your heart, mind, and life. She will give you tips on how to choose great books to pull off the shelf and treasure for a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Today’s sponsor is Powerline Productions. Powerline Productions wants to equip you to be a world changer and raise world changers. They offer curriculum, unit studies, high school courses, Bible studies, cookbooks, and How-to-Homeschool books. Find them at PowerlineProd.com.

Colossians 1:28 by Laura Nolette and Powerline Productions, Inc.

 

High School Curriculum by Powerline Productions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Show Notes:

Why I Urge You to Read

I grew up surrounded by “bookophiles.”

I loved to read! In high school, I made a list of classics to read. When I was experiencing pregnancy sickness I finally read the Russians. (tip for Russian literature—list names on a notecard.)

Read the books the historians write about and talk about. E.G. Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Why Should Your Read Old Books instead of Just Books Written in the late 20th and 21st Century?

Books have been dumbed down.

Many adults would have trouble reading children’s books written in 1800s and early 1900s.

7 Benefits of Reading Classics

  1. Reading classics will make you smarter and strengthen your ability to think and make logical conclusions. A brain workout, flex your brain muscles. Improve your comprehension.
  2. Reading classics will improve your vocabulary. It will expose you to a richer, more intellectual vocabulary. In addition, there is more description, conversation, and character development.
  3. Reading classics will increase your attention span. Blogs are shorter. Commercials are shorter. Movie scenes are shorter. Trains our brain to focus for long periods of time.
  4. Reading classic books will help you understand literary references that used to go over your head. “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”
  5. Reading classics will have a deeper understanding of history with its culture, cultural context, beliefs, and values. Even historical fiction often puts values of today into the story set in yesterday.
  6. Reading classic books will develop your character and compassion. Times may change, but human nature and the problems people face don’t change. There is nothing new under the sun. Identifying with people from different times and places will stretch your heart.
  7. Reading classics will bring joy to your life. Everyone loves a good story. Everyone loves an intellectual challenge. Whether you are reading literature or living books, there is nothing like the pleasure of a good book.

Where Can I find classics to read?

Boy do I have reading lists for you! Check our reading lists for every age imaginable: http://www.joyfulandsuccessfulhomeschooling.com/books/reading-lists/

What if Classics are too Hard?

You may have to build up to reading some of the classics because the reading level of modern books is so low. Start with some children’s classics like Little Women or Hans Brinker.

 

Reading Lists & Places to Get Classic Books

Reading Lists

Free Classic Books

Our Book Reviews

Gutenberg: Free Classic E-books to download

Library of Congress Free Books to Read Online

Free Classic Books for Your Kindle

Planet E-book Free E-books to Download

Free E-books for your Nook Reader

Curriculum with Classic Books

American Literature & Research

British Literature

Communication 101: Oral & Written

Who Dun It: Murder Mystery Literature & Writing

Podcasts:

Link Between Literature & Political Freedom

 

American Literature & Research British Literature & Writing High School Class Communications 101: Essays and Speeches High School Class Who Dun It? Murder Mystery Literature and Writing High School Class

 

Finish Well Radio, Podcast #024, Link Between Literature and Political Freedom

Literature

Literature in Your Homeschool | Family Renewal Podcast on Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network

Literature in your Homeschool and Family Reading

a Family Renewal Podcast with the Waynes.

Join Israel Wayne every month as he discusses life, theology, Christian Apologetics, education, family and cultural issues from a Biblical worldview. Israel is an author and conference speaker who often speaks at homeschooling conferences, and churches, as well as marriage and parenting seminars.

Finally, the information he teaches around the nation will be available to listeners like you. Each broadcast will be about a half hour and will feature interviews and thoughtful commentary from Israel and his guests.

HSHSP Ep 89: A NOVEL Approach with Highschool Literature!

This week on HSHSP Ep 89: A NOVEL Approach with Highschool Literature!

HSHSP Ep 89: A NOVEL Approach with Highschool Literature!

HSHSP Ep 89: A NOVEL Approach with Highschool Literature!

Moldy, ancient novels: that’s what highschool Literature is, right?

Boring, meaningless lessons based on the old novel is highschool Literature, right?

Wrong on both counts!

Why read just because they are required to? Why not look at *novel* ideas for types of Literature? Teens can:

  • Read for connection (to the author, to life, to culture, etc)
  • Read to understand the author’s why?
  • Read to find their own why?

AND Literature is more than dusty novels. Lots of things can count as Literature!

Sabrina, Vicki and Kym have some NOVEL ideas for some lively, meaningful and fun ideas for homeschool highschool Literature. They share the thought provoking questions:

 

What can count as literature? Can it be something other than old novels? Here are some types of Literature that they have covered with their homeschool highschoolers:

  • Poetry (reading, interacting with it, memorizing it, writing it)
  • Short stories
  • Biographies
  • Autobiographies
  • Plays (try some Readers Theatre)
  • Movies

Listen and find out the answer to the BURNING question: Why did Shakespeare write in iambic pentameter.

In the meantime, check out these useful links for new ways to look at highschool Literature.

Cinema Studies for Literature Learning in your High School Homeschool Co-op

Homeschool Highschool Podcast Ep 14: Readers Theater Party- It’s COOL!

God is a Poet – Introducing Poetry to High School Homeschool Students

 

Vicki’s Pinterest Poetry Board (lots of famous people reading poetry…so cool!)

HSHSP Ep 89: A NOVEL Approach with Highschool Literature!

 

Give Your Child The World – HIRL Episode 107

Free homeschool podcast aobut Jamie Martin's new book: Give Your Child The World.Is there a way to give our kids a global perspective and a heart for people living very different lives all across the globe? Author and homeschooling mom Jamie Martin not only believes so, she’s written the guide!

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Children One Book at a Time is the ultimate book list and living room sofa travel guide for families who desire to broaden their horizons together. Jamie joins us to talk about how to give your kids an education that includes many cultures and countries, and how to parent with a whole lot of faith instead of fear.

EPISODE TIMELINE
:50 Fluff – Hawaii FollowUp, Summertime Fun, Natural Disasters
7:25 Introduction to Give Your Child The World
11:14 – Interview with Jamie Martin, Part 1
21:21 – Interview with Jamie Martin, Part 2
31:45 The show is over. Goodbye!


SHOW NOTES:

Recommended Resources:
Jamie Martin on Twitter
Give Your Child The World by Jamie Martin
Betty the Surf Dog – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Website
Rasta The Chocolate Lab – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Website
Fletch Twitter
Kendra Twitter

Previous Episodes Mentioned:
All of them

Music clips used on this episode:
None


SUBSCRIBE AND LEAVE AN iTUNES REVIEW:

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WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO LISTEN TO HomeschoolingIRL?

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LISTEN HERE

Are you ready to listen to Fletch and Kendra get real about homeschooling? Press the PLAY button below.


Join Fletch (from theMangoTimes) and Kendra (from Preschoolers and Peace and KendraFletcher.com) for the HomeschoolingIRL podcast every week as they interview guests and talk through some of the goofiness they have experienced in nearly two decades.

FW Radio – The Link Between Literature and Political Freedom

fw_024_linklitpoli_sm

Teens, have you ever wondered what the big deal is about reading old books by dead people. You might be surprised to learn the role that classic literature plays in maintaining our political freedom. Yes, it’s true! Find out why tonight.

MBFLP – Movies, Media, and Teaching Some Discernment

MBFLP - Movies, Media, and Teaching Discernment

School’s out and the summer movies are releasing! The music and the special effects are amazing, the story lines are gripping — but where are they heading? How can you find the true message woven into the cinema experience? Do your kids know what to look for? This episode, we’ll talk about how we teach our young people to watch and listen with discernment, whether it’s a three-movie epic or a 30-second commercial. We’ll talk about some of our favorite movies, and we’ll share some of the lively discussion we actually have in our family over the popcorn. Plus we have a special limited-time offer to share with our listeners … so join us!

IAHE Informer Interview with Andrew Pudewa

The IAHE is excited to have Andrew PudewaInformer Podcast Pudewa-2 as one of the featured speakers for the 2014 Home Educators’ Convention. Whether you are attending the convention or not, this podcast is full of helpful information for all homeschool parents.

Join us for an informative hour filled with information about:

  • The Institute for Excellence in Writing
  • What is Classical Education?
  • Common Sense about Common Core
  • And much more!

Blogger Featured Speakers

This program was sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Writing.

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