Describe a method you've tried after reading a book. Quote a phrase or a word from a book you started using often. etc.. Present a story on how a book changed you in any way.
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Words provide us with nuanced ways to see our world. There is a power in vocabulary that is very real and which is often overlooked. Studies have shown that if a person is unaware of a certain term to describe a particular emotional state, that person is less likely to actually experience that state.
Literature, at its most surface level, offers an expansion of vocabulary.
When we read, we think. How much books contribute to a person's intellectual development depends not only on what books the person reads but what thought process follows the reading of those books. Just reading a book alone does not do much, but it doesn't hurt!
While I cannot think of a direct example or book which has changed me intellectually, I must offer this example.
Both of my children have been avid readers since they learned to read. that being said, both (in testing) have always excelled in language, comprehension, and critical analysis. While I know that they read far more than other students their age, I can only think to attribute their above average testing scores to reading.
Outside of that, one thing I recognize that I do is look at the backward movement of a text after finishing a text. What did I learn? What questions were raised? What new perspective did I learn? I can, therefore, contribute this to "intellectual development."
Since having children I have read many books on parenting, but my husband and I have sincerely taken to heart the ideas from 1,2,3 Magic. The premise of the book is that you "count" to three when your children are engaging in behavior you want to stop, like whining, begging, arguing, etc. You lay out the discipline model with children up front and then you count AND ONLY COUNT -- no arguing with them, no extra talking, no trying to persuade them, no begging them etc. You only count "That's one...That's two...That's three -- take 5 (or 10) as a timeout." Once the timeout is over there is still NO TALKING about the incident. One key point to the book is that parents think of their children as mini adults who can be reasoned with, and generally, that is not the case and "talking through it" rarely works. We have found this whole method to work well -- we can usually turn around the bad behavior by the count of 2.
My husband and I incorporated "The Undertoad" into our regular conversation after reading The World According to Garp by John Irving. In the book, it is a silly scene with his child at the beach, afraid of a giant sea monster lurking on shore after hearing "Watch out for the under tow." It becomes in Garp's marriage and family, a code word for anxiety, or when you get a feeling like something bad is lurking in the atmosphere but you can't really name it.
We now use it all the time and I even named my blog after it. I actually love when people understand the reference without explanation. I think in the same way that quoting movie lines or song lyrics has become a social networking inside joke sort of connection, for me, understanding book references always gives me that same cool obscure connection with others who are "in the know."
In my life, books provided both an escape and a place to find new ideas. I still read as much as I can, but at my age my ideas are more solid and now I read almost purely for enjoyment. In your own life, think about books you have read and how they affected your worldview. Did Orwell's 1984 or Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 give you pause to think about fascism and where it exists in the world today? Did Twain's Huckleberry Finn make you wonder about the institutionalized racism endemic in slave states and how that affects race relations today? Try to identify what books you've read that remain in your memory, and if they changed the way you look at the world.
Books give us ideas that we might not have had before. They might make us think about new situations or they might make us think about situations that we already know about but in a different way. In this way, they help us develop intellectually. As an example, I am reading a history of WWII written in Japanese. This gives a different perspective on the war and makes me think more about that war and the various ways it can be looked at.
Books allow us to further our knowledge of things and find the general basis of a subject. Theyt have the capability to improve imagination, Help decide career paths and influence decisions in life. In short BOOKS ARE BRAIN FOOD.
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