Monday, December 30, 2013

What Is Old Is New Again: How To Read a Book!

You know how it goes.   You are checking your email when you should be writing a syllabus and you get message about a link that somehow is connected to something you might have said or done

How To Read A Book: 3 Strategies For Critical Reading | MSU's 21st Century Education Enterprise |

Then you follow the link because the image is compelling and it takes you to a site, such as this one,

And then you do a little reading of the thinking behind the image (Terry Heick).  They mention an oldie by Adler and Van Doren, How to Read a Book (you think yyou remember hearing about that one long ago).  So you follow the link to a book that was originally published in 1940 and your mind is wondering if this is part of some back to basic movement that will soon be dredging up Dick and Jane?  And, with another click, you find that not only are Dick and Jane back, they are alive and well and selling at Walmart

Then, you remember that nothing is totally new.  What is old is new again.  That's why we kept all those books MLO.  They're back. They have new names.  They are what readers do!
(I am confident we can give our kids better bookd than Dick and Jane, but that's another post!)

So now we just have new names for:
Inspectional Reading: Quick Reading, Skimming (what I do with all those emails)
Analytical Reading: Close Reading of a single text
Syntopical Reading: Cross Reading. Text to Text Connecting

Image attribution from
How To Read A Book: 3 Strategies For Critical Reading

1 comment:

Max Weismann said...


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