Reading: Why and How

Always Reading

What are you reading now? Throughout each semester, you should always be reading something - a novel, a biography, a memoir, essays, rhetoric, short stories, poetry and more. As you read, you will be developing and strengthening your critical thinking skills which will help you better communicate your own original thinking across all subjects. Reading American literature will also offer you the opportunity to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of the uniquely American experience we share as individuals, as a community and as a nation.

Explore the video below, to discover author John Green's insights about the purpose of reading.

Making Connections - Choosing a Lens

Whether consciously or sub-consciously, all readers make connections to literary works as they read. "Text to World", "Text to Text", and "Text to Self" connections provide the reader with a variety of lenses - different ways to see a text.

When readers make the effort to acknowledge and explore these connections and their meaning, they have the opportunity to develop insights as well as recognize the limitations or bias of any one lens.

When literary critics explore a text, they often do so through a "critical lens" - a specific perspective/context through which they consider the literary work. Through our research, we will include some of these "critical lenses" in our exploration of texts.

Throughout the course of the year, we will also explore texts through the lens of an essential question. We will shift between these two essential questions:

  • How do writers create truth through fiction?
  • What is the American dream?