The horrible ‘here’, the dark dungeon, in which a relentlessly howling heart is encarcerated, this ‘here’ holds and constricts me. But what gleams shine through at night, and what—. It exists, my dream world, it must exist, since, surely there must be an original of the clumsy copy. Dreamy, round, and blue, it turns slowly toward me. It is as if you are lying supine, with eyes closed, on an overcast day, and suddenly the gloom stirs under your eyelids, and slowly becomes first a langorous smile, then a warm feeling of contentment, and you know that the sun has come out from behind the clouds. With just such a feeling my world begins: the misty air gradually clears, and it is suffused with such radiant, tremulous kindness, and my soul expanses so freely in its native realm. —But then what, then what?
— Invitation to a Beheading, Vladimir Nabokov
A New York Times article explores a new approach to classroom literature and the Catch 22 that it creates. Inspire a love of reading by letting students choose their own books to read and assess? Or ensure a common body of literature and ease the weight of standardized testing by having all students read and analyze the classics together?
Most experts say that teachers do not have to choose between one approach or the other and that they can incorporate the best of both methods: reading some novels as a group while also giving students opportunities to select their own books. But literacy specialists also say that instilling a habit is as important as creating a shared canon.
Sunday morning reading the New York Times. I read this one aloud:
Some Thoughts on the Lost Art of Reading Aloud by Verlyn Klinkenborg
“Reading aloud recaptures the physicality of words. To read with your lungs and diaphragm, with your tongue and lips, is very different than reading with your eyes alone. The language becomes a part of the body, which is why there is always a curious tenderness, almost an erotic quality, in those 18th- and 19th-century literary scenes where a book is being read aloud in mixed company. The words are not mere words. They are the breath and mind, perhaps even the soul, of the person who is reading.”