What is literature and what added value does it have in our lives? Why do people read novels, poems, plays? Why do people read? In other words, what would people’s lives be without literature?
If you google “why should we read” you realize that tons and tons of different sites dedicate a post, an article or a video to this issue. This implies we are not wasting our time and we are dealing with an issue (reading) that is so central in our lives, if not one of the most important “staples” for a healthy and effective lifestyle. The following video is from an e-magazine dedicated to men only. If reading is not considered a manly thing (stereotype, I know, but worth addressing), well, the speaker seems to make it clear and simple that reading……… Won’t go any further, I cannot spoil the video.
Watch it and write down what you (regardless of your gender) gain from reading.
Watch this animation cartoon in which you are provided with 25 reasons for the positive effects of reading on your mind, your body and your social life. Which ones do you feel in tune with the most? Would you add any other reason that you came up with in your group while discussing in class the issue of reading?
Watch the following video of a student like you, expressing the reason why literature plays an important role in her life. While watching, take notes of the words you agree with and be prepared to explain why. For example “Literature is thought-provoking because….”.
This is a video meant to make us reflect on the importance of literature. Do you like it? Why (not)?
If you asked me “Why is it important to study literature at secondary school”?
Well, as a teacher of English I should tell you that knowing a language well implies means becoming one with its culture, so it means knowing its literature, its history. I would also add that reading and writing go hand in hand. If you do not read, you do not learn a language well. Through literature you explore the subtleties and intricacies of the English language. Words are multifaceted gems and it is just through literature that you grasp the power of language. If you do not read, you cannot learn how to write effectively. Reading enables you to communicate clearly, thus being taken seriously in life. Studying literature helps you understand the world. Literature speaks of issues that are still relevant to and in our lives.
Through reading we understand lots of things about ourselves and what surrounds us. Reading promotes critical thinking and inspires us. Studying literature exposes us to new ideas, cultures, and people which can broaden our mind.
Not reading is a kind of disability, because you won’t develop the skill to read carefully, an ability that you will need in your future career. Most of you perhaps study literature because you have to, you may find it boring, if not useless. Yet in time, and hopefully not too late, you will realise that being able to read critically, to formulate an argument and to put it forward are skills you must master to be employed and you acquire them through reading. Literature teachers you to think, it is a challenge, though it does not an immediate and obvious application and for this reason it is perceived as less important than scientific subjects such as maths, physics or biology.
These are the words of the teacher, the one who should always motivate you into doing the best with your lives. However, what is really literature to me?
Literature is what makes me human. I find immense satisfaction whenever I read a novel that speaks to me, a novel whose words touch my very soul. I feel understood, I feel I am not alone, I feel relieved to know that other people share my doubts, dreams, and concerns; that there were/are people like me who struggled/struggle just as I do. Literature alleviates in me the feeling of being alone in life.
Now watch the following video and write down what motivations your are being given for studying literature. Be prepared to argue which reason/s you are most willing to take on board and make your own driving force to the studying of literature.
Find a quotation from a book (novel, poem, play, essay) that you underlined while reading or a quotation that you may have found on the net, a quotation that sums up the power of reading for you. You are asked to find an image or a video or a song that reinforces your message. Post it on the padlet below. Then post your poem to, the poem you wrote in class collectively.
Now let’s deepen our perception of literature. Watch the video and while watching take some notes to answer the questions below. In class (in groups) you will share your understanding of the video and your impressions.
- Why isn’t literature a product, but a process and a specific kind of language?
What is the main quality/feature of literary language?
Why having a grasp of literature is important?
Why does Prof. Ron Wheeler mention archeology to make us understand how literature somehow differs from it?
How can we broaden and deepen our experience through literature? Prof. provides a striking example, which is it?
What are the two most intense human experiences that literature deals with?
Does literature break down social barriers or things we, as humans, are struggling with in today’s age?
How did Prof. Ron Wheeler develop his passion for reading?
Why does literature play an important role in your education?
As a future parent what suggestions are you being given?
What is the intellectual benefit that literature plays in one’s life?
Now it is time for you to express yourself creatively. I asked you to write two poems (one on literature and one on “books”) and a slogan to make people reflect upon the empowering qualities we can find when/in reading. Looking forward to reading your “creative manifestations” or as Virginia Woolf would put it “moments of being”. The following padlets are dedicated to your sparkling imagination: the first one to your poems the second one to your slogans.