I’ve got a problem for you to solve. So go find your thinking cap.
Here’s the problem. In 60 seconds, list all the ways that reading fiction is good for you.
And . . . go. (Feel free to Google it. I’m okay with that.)
Ready to compare lists?
- builds empathy.
- builds brain connectivity.
- improves “theory of mind.”
- improves emotional intelligence and language skills – the kind of soft skills that help people get jobs.
- develops strong relationship skills, fosters creativity, increases open-mindedness, and makes people happy.
- can help broaden an understanding of nonfiction and expository texts.
Fiction can expand our view of both ourselves and others:
The humanities interrogate us. They challenge our sense of who we are, even of who our brothers and sisters might be.
“It could have been me” is the threshold for the vistas that literature and art make available to us . . . education is not about memorizing poems or knowing when X wrote Y, and what Z had to say about it. It is, instead, about the human record that is available to us in libraries and museums and theaters and online. But that record lives and breathes; it is not calculable or teachable via numbers or bullet points. Instead, it requires something that we never fail to do before buying clothes: Trying the garment on.
Art and literature are tried on. Reading a book, seeing a painting or a play or a film: Such encounters are fueled by affect as well as intelligence. Much “fleshing out” happens here: We invest the art with our own feelings, but the art comes to live inside us, adding to our own repertoire. Art obliges us to “first-personalize” the world. Our commerce with art makes us fellow travelers: to other cultures, other values, other selves.
So what’s our conclusion? Continue reading Reading fiction is good for your students. Shocker. 21 lists to get you started