Why I Still Teach Literature

Why I Still Teach LiteratureHigh school students almost always groan when they hear that we’re doing a course on Shakespeare or the Divine Comedy this semester. I always hear protests about “why do we need to know that? How will that help us during adult life?” What most students don’t realize is that I am doing this to help them to be literate and knowledgeable. It may be hard to see it now, but literature has a huge effect on how a student will do in the future. I want to talk about a few reasons that literature helps us, not just for our careers but for our whole lives.

Reading Comprehension

Most of the time, students try to get away with reading some abridged version of the book that I’ve assigned them. In doing that, they’re cheating themselves out of a valuable skill. Learning how to sit down and read a long book is a skill that will pay itself back 100 times over. If you can learn to love reading, you will love learning. And in this economy, people that hate to learn are the first to be out of work. Our economy is one of information now, so if you don’t have much information you won’t have much of a good life. Sadly, I think this is much like sports; if you don’t invest in your body now, it will be too late by the time you’re 60 to start getting fit. Patio Sport.Com has a variety of sports equipment to help you stay fit, which keeps your mind sharp at the same time. Reading can also stave off Alzheimer’s Disease; you keep your mind sharp-which guarantees that learning pathways in the brain don’t atrophy.

Writing Comprehension

English class doesn’t stop at just reading; it moves on to writing as well. The most important part of reading is being able to interact with it. If you just read and don’t know how to respond to what you’ve read, you might as well not have read it. It won’t be any use to you. It’s like trying to play badminton without a badminton racquet. Students don’t like to do it, but it is a skill you will need to know later. For example, if you ever want to go into an engineering, sales, recruitment, or legal profession and are bad with reading comprehension, you need to do something else.

Reading as a Hobby

If reading isn’t your thing, I understand. However, you’re missing out on a great hobby. Smartphones are a great invention, but using them a lot can make it hard to focus on long and difficult reading. Lots of people avoid reading just because it is difficult; it definitely takes longer, but I don’t think it’s any harder if you put in the focus to learn. Just because something takes time doesn’t mean you should try it. If you can put the time in, reading is a wonderful hobby because it forces you to use different parts of your brain in order to enjoy the story.

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