Empty Shelf Challenge: A how-to with heart

how to read slowly
Oddly, the number of books on my shelf is shrinking. I don’t know what to say about that.


Title: How to Read Slowly: Reading for Comprehension

Author: James W. Sire

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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 every day 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 it’s 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!

One response to “Empty Shelf Challenge: A how-to with heart”

  1. Max Weismann Avatar


    We are a not-for-profit educational organization founded by Mortimer Adler and we have recently made an exciting discovery—three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos—lively discussing the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.

    Three hours with Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren, lively discussing the art of reading, on one DVD. A must for all readers, libraries and classroom teaching the art of reading.

    I cannot exaggerate how instructive these programs are—we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

    Please go here to see a clip and learn more:


    ISBN: 978-1-61535-311-8

    Thank you,

    Max Weismann, Co-founder with Dr. Adler

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