Can Reading Be Passive?

Being an avid reader, I spend a lot of time thinking about books. Not only do I daydream about them but I also chat about them lots. Luckily many of my friends and colleagues are almost as obsessed with literature as I am.

My work mates are always recommending or slating books. Word of mouth is so valuable and I can see how authors benefit from people telling their friends about the novels that left a mark on them.

Whatever reading is, it definitely isn’t passive. Books are immersive experiences and it would be difficult to pick up a well written story without getting absorbed into the narrative.

Here are my three reasons why I believe that reading is an active sport.

1) Sucked In

When I read a good book, I soon become immersed in the pages. My mind wonders to the locations that are described and I lose touch with my surroundings. Not only that, but I usually lose track of time as well.

Getting sucked into the narrative is a complement to any writer. It shows that they are entertaining, intriguing and weaving a tale that distracts the reader from the monotony of their daily lives.

2) Talking Points

When people read novels and short stories that they like, they tend to want to talk about them. My friends often come in and excitedly proclaim how amazing their latest read is.

Enthusiasm is infectious. If I see someone being excited by a good book, I know that I have to read that book and fond out why it is so special.

3) Investments

If you were passively reading a book then you would not begin to empathise with the characters. This is hard to do. I certainly become invested in Joanne Harris and Liane Moriarty books and love when sequels come out.

When you are invested in storybook worlds, you cannot help but care about the main characters and want to discover what happened next in their fabricated lives.

Final Thoughts

If you love books as much as I do (and let’s face it – books are a multibillion dollar industry these days) then you will identify with the reasons I gave above.

It is impossible to passively read books because they are thought-provoking and, when written well, immerse you in their fictional landscapes, making you want to love or hate their characters.

Have you ever been sucked into a good book?

Has a character ever enraged you?

Do you think that reading can be passive?

Check out a recent review I wrote about Truly Madly Guilty by Liana Moriarty. Please also follow my blog for more book, TV and film reviews as well as climate change articles.

Truly Madly Guilty – Book Review

This book is another one from Liane Moriarty’s back catalogue and I was desperate to read it. Great reviews led me to this pleasing book, with its clever title and intriguing setting. I will never look at a barbecue the same way again. Check out my Truly Madly Guilty book review to find out more…

Skilfully Narrated

Liane Moriarty is one of my top three favourite authors and I am often singing her praises. Once again she has come up with a story that is interesting, full of fascinating characters and threaded together with precision.

Truly, Madly, Guilty is a patchwork of human awkwardness. The characters are all second guessing one another while constantly reflecting on a friendly barbecue that went pear-shaped.

Overview

Clementine is a cellist who is awaiting an audition for the Sydney Orchestra. Along with her husband and two kids she attends a barbecue with her friends Erika and Oliver. The narrative cleverly flips back and forth with constant reference to the barbecue, which involves a startling event.

With a mum who is a hoarder and a desperation to get pregnant, Erika has enough on her plate. Her neighbour Tiffany has kindly invited them over for food and fun but they all wish they never accepted.

Tiffany, with a secret history of her own, had no way of knowing the devastating impact her little barbecue would have. Her husband Vid is none the wiser. Ever the crowd pleaser, he just wants to move on. He also develops a fascination with one of the guests.

And Finally…

This book is written in the close third person where Liane focusses in on a different character in each chapter, but without writing in the first person. Her writing is clever and thoughtful with real insights into the character’s motivations and concerns.

A five star book with plenty to keep you hooked.

For another of my book reviews, have a read of my The Lost Daughter book review. Please also consider following my blog for more articles about books, films and climate change. Also drop a comment below and let me know your thoughts on Liane Moriarty or other novelists that you enjoy.

Reading Is Not A Punishment

As a teacher and tutor for many years I came across a variety of students who had different attitudes to reading. I also came across parents with very differing approaches to getting their kids to read. One thing I realised early on was how powerful and important being able to enjoy books can be.

Don’t Push It

In my experience, if you force anyone to do anything, they will come to resent it. I was forced to play football at school, during lunchtimes and when I got home (as my neighbours always wanted to play it) and so I started to resent the sport.

Being forced to be a goalkeeper all the time made me dislike anything to do with football.

So being made to read and treating it like a punishment is generally off-putting. Also, having to suffer for not reading is a massive turn-off.

You have to teach reading using a tiptoe method. Step by step you shine a light on the reading experience and make it feel comfortable and fun.

Some Suggestions:

– Read yourself regularly and where your child can see you absorbed in that activity. They will be fascinated by what is holding your attention and hopefully making you smile.

– Share a book with them. Learning to read starts with phonics but the love of reading comes from a shared experience. If you read to your child every evening, with expression and interaction, your audience will start to become interested.

– Don’t force a ‘type’ or genre of books onto them. Find some topics they like. Yes they may appreciate Roald Dahl but they may also crave stories about skiing or travelling or even prefer factual books about insects. Whatever they are drawn to, go with it.

– Use the pictures to get them involved in the narrative.

“Can you spot a picture of someone running away from something? What do you think made them run?”

– Work with poems and rhymes early on so the student then begins to know the patterns and jump in with the endings of each line.

– Most of all, make learning to read fun. This will make a lasting impression on the young reader and may foster a love of books which will stay with them as they grow up.

Final Thoughts

I remember my Mum taking the time each night to read me a story and I was totally absorbed. I became curious about what was so exciting about books and soon became a keen reader.

If you don’t use books as punishments and try not to limit the types of books that a child reads then a love of books should develop naturally. When a child doesn’t want to read something, never force them. Instead, give them some space and ensure you are seen enjoying a book. Later on, try a different book with them or find a fun way to make the reading session more like a game.

For another of my posts about education, check out 5 Challenges Of Teaching.