Posted in Booktube, Documenting Delight 365

The Benefits of Reading Classic Literature and Tips to Make it Less Challenging.

Documenting Read Aloud Delight 28-30/365- Scarlet Pimpernel

For those that are new here- the Documenting Read Aloud Delight project is one where I try to journal our read aloud experiences for one year.

We are currently reading the “Scarlet Pimpernel” and’s a bit of a stretch for us coming from Gary Paulson’s series on Tucket’s Travels.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

The story is fantastic and it is very action packet, the language though is only really engaging my two oldest girls. Before I go into some tips to make it more enjoyable when it is more challenging, let’s go over some reasons we should even bother trying.

Here are 6 benefits of reading classic literature:

  1. Quality literature will challenge any child with thought-provoking social and ethical situations, that will help build their own character development.  Studies have found that reading this type of literature not only makes a person a better reader, but also a better person in general. (Study here) There are many situations we hope our children never have to be in, (rescuing people from the guillotine is our current read aloud one), through books however, they can see inside what a person is thinking when acting bravely and also what happens to those who make very poor and cruel choices.
  2. Have you hear of Bibliotherapy? Many people believe this is a real thing, and quality books offer quality cathartic experience. Often we can read about characters struggles, cruel experiences with injustice and the effects of vengeance seeking. This reminds me recently of “Unbroken” how he dealt with some horrific injustices and how the idea of vengeance consumed him to the point of almost loosing it all. More powerful was the fact that it was a true story. We can also see how through perseverance and overcoming, that vengeance is a dish better served not at all. Again, as an example the character Louie in Unbroken instead got saved and completely forgave his former oppressors and lived a much better life because of it. These are powerful lessons.
  3. Literacy is a gift that we should not take lightly. God has given us the ability to read and write and we live in a country where the Word of God is so accessible (you can buy a KJV at the dollar store). Statistics say that Bibles are not even available in 57% of World Languages. Thirteen countries in the world have literacy rates below 50% and so when we read the Bible and other quality literature, we demonstrate gratitude for the gift of literacy we’ve been given by using the gift wisely and deeply.
  4. Get a clear window. It is said that books that reflect lives similar to ours are called “mirrors.” Books that give us a glimpse of a life different from ours are called “windows.” This is one reason that I love the Robinson Curriculum. The book list is outstanding and I know Dr. Robinson understood a powerful way to understand different cultures and historical perspectives, is through classics. For example on the list is “Up from Slavery” and autobiography from Booker T. Washington.  Literature bridges race, culture, and geography.
  5. It’s a challenge worth achieving. Challenges are good for the self-esteem. Yes, it is fun to read “candy literature” that’s what I call just for fun reading. I remember a time when I would pick up those US weekly’s while waiting to check out and I never felt accomplished after reading it. However the first time I read my Kind James Bible cover to cover, I felt very accomplished and knew I could do it again and again. The bottom line is you feel good about yourself when you accomplish something that was actually difficult.
  6. They stay with you. The books that challenge us are the books that stay with us. I can think of several books that were a little longer to read at bedtime to the kids, but brought tears to our eyes and we still remember them. A good book can feel like a loyal friend, with different lessons for different periods in your life. I know for certain the Bible is like that.

I am currently reading a great book called, “How to read a Book.” It may sound like a no brainer but hear me out. It actually has a lot of great tips and super meaty! In fact I plan on doing a short video series on it because I want to remember so much of it and I find that is the best way, by teaching it to others.

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

There is a section of this book that gives you tips how to reach up and immerse yourself in a book that might seem above your head. This kind of stretching is powerful in your reading and in reading to your children.

I have adapted some of the tips to apply it to Historical Fictional Literature- These are tips that you can apply and teach to your children when they read a book that seems more challenging for them.

Make the book your own! This is one downfall of library books. The best way to stay engaged and not to zone out is to take notes. If you are using a library book though, you can use post it notes to write in and stick in the book. Even with fiction you can write the important characters on the page and who they are. You can also do this on the front blank page and create your own sort of timeline or storyboard outline.

Mark Important moments – When you get to a part of the story that seems like it is very important, mark it with a star or some kind of mark or highlight. Then when you pick up the book again, you can over those highlighted parts.

Other Tips- Pretty much everything in this previous post about Bible reading can apply to more challenging books for children. 

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

–P.J. O’Rourke

I hope this post was encouraging for you. Let me know in the comments below what book was challenging for you to read, but you were glad when you finished it! What did you learn?



Christian, Homeschooling, Mother of 6 with way too many ideas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s