Title: How to Read Slowly: Reading for Comprehension
Author: James W. Sire
What’s It About: On its face, it simply a how-to book laying out the mechanics of reading a variety of literature—poetry, essays, novels, etc.— for comprehension. Sire walks the reader through various genres, giving tools necessary to read “well.” But it’s more than just a book on how to read to understand the content of a book. It’s a book about how to read with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul. Sire writes from a distinctively Christian viewpoint and shares how to fully engage with literature to gain both understanding and meaning.
Why I Read It: While there are numerous excellent worldview curricula available, I’ve decided to forgo the formal class-like program. Instead, I want to continue having the discussions with my kids about the big questions we’ve been having since they kids could talk, albeit in a more deliberate way. To that end, I’m spending time everyday with the girls (who are 14 and 12) reading through a variety of books and talking about them. How to Read Slowly is one of the books on my list to preview for that project. (Yes, it made the cut. In fact, it’s been an inspiration.) I have a post in the works on why I decided to do worldview this way, and I may even complete it before the last kid graduates!
What I Thought: Sire is like a master chef teaching a novice cook how to make a melt-in-your-mouth crème brûlée His directions are clear and understandable, but he also doesn’t hesitate to share his passion and to explain the why behind not only the method but also the purpose of reading slowly. He makes the reader’s mouth water with anticipation of the delights ahead of her. His love of literature and reading is infectious. I have read Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book, the classic volume on the mechanics of reading well, and one every serious reader “ought” to read. And its dull as tombs. It’s full of tons of good information and absolutely no inspiration. Sire’s book, on the other hand, is a delight. I came away inspired to be a better reader and better equipped to reach that goal. As Sire writes, “[G]reat books teem with peoples and lands, with ideas and attitudes, with exuberance and life. Let us take our fill, doing it slowly, thoughtfully, imaginatively, all to the glory of God.”
Where You Can Get It: Here!