“In order to truly understand the perspectives of others different from us, we need something more than knowledge alone. We need compassion, empathy and desire to engage in social discourse.
Contrary to nonfiction books, fiction books are cherished for their form as a narrative art, which employs literary locution, syntax and its plot in a way that allows new perspectives to settle in. According to Jacques Rancière, a French philosopher and social activist, fiction is valuable “due to a new balance of the powers of language, to a new way language can act by causing something to be seen and heard. Literature … is a new system of identification.” …
According to Martha Nussbaum, an American philosopher, “Literature makes us better citizens because it trains us to understand others. Narrative imagination is an essential preparation for moral interaction.” …
“Thus, reading great works of fiction turns the reader into a conscious agent of world transformation by bringing to the fore the unseen and unheard.”
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… “study supports the idea that when we learn a new word visually – by reading it rather than hearing it spoken aloud – a small part of the brain, located behind the left ear, creates a mental image of the word. Instead of remembering it as a string of letters or syllables, this region, called the visual word form area, gets trained to recognize the entire word as a pattern, forming a “visual dictionary” of our vocabulary. Representing written words in this way helps us recognize them more easily – and read faster.
“We know that in efficient readers this visual word form area is the area that seems to change the most as we learn to read,” said study author Max Reisenhuber, a neuroscientist at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington D.C.”
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“I asked a room full of M.A. English students about the reading they were doing outside the curriculum. At least a third did not do any, which makes them functional aliterates. Aliterates are people that can read but do not. They read just enough to get by. If a language and literature department can have so many of them, then what about students in other disciplines?
What do you lose by becoming an aliterate? Quite a lot, actually. According to Maryanne Wolf, Director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University in the United States, while reading “we are forced to construct, to produce narrative, to imagine. Reading gives you a unique pause button for comprehension and insight. By and large, with oral language — when you watch a film or listen to a tape — you don’t press pause.” Hence, the mind receives a far more vigorous workout whilst reading than consuming any other form of media. It is not surprising that avid readers tend to possess better memories and minds more equipped to resist the exigencies of ageing than those who do not read. Their capacity for learning also tends to be far more advanced. In addition, since reading requires more concentration than other media, an avid reader’s mind tends to be more focused which allows him or her to make good decisions.”
“Ever since I was a small child, I never felt anything but pure love for reading books of all shapes and sizes. It was not until later that I realized that reading books was not just a form of entertainment but also a powerful tool that humans have used to communicate and gain knowledge as early as people could write.
A good book can open up minds to new ideas that seemed impossible before. Doctors, teachers, psychologists, mothers, cooks, students and every occupation imaginable requires proficient reading skills to succeed at what they do not only in their jobs but in their lives as well
This is because reading is the basis for all the other communication skills, such as writing, speaking, and even listening. Books are the key to the hearts of thousands of people. They record who we essentially are as humans. Books have the power to create riots, to calm stressful days, or to inspire new movements in the world. A world can be contained within a book’s pages.”
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“without reading, there can be no learning; without learning, there can be no sense of a larger world; without the sense of a larger world, there can be no ardor to find it; without ardor, where is joy?
Without reading, there can be no learning. The humanities are essentially a reading practice. It is no accident that we say we “read” music, or that we “read” visual import. The arts (music, art, literature, theater), because they offer themselves to be “read,” generate many of the humanities—musicology, art history, literary commentary, dramatic interpretation. Through language, spoken or written, we investigate, describe, and interpret the world. The arts are, in their own realm, silent with respect to language; amply showing forth their being, they are nonetheless not self-descriptive or self-interpreting. There can be no future for the humanities—and I include philosophy and history—if there are no human beings acquainted with reading in its emotionally deepest and intellectually most extensive forms. And learning depends on reading as a practice of immersion in thought and feeling.”