Thursday, November 29, 2012

History for Non-Readers

Colorado State University Pueblo historian Jonathan Rees writes over at The Historical Society:

 . . . humanities professors faced with non-reading students have to teach their recalcitrant readers the kinds of reading skills that they’ve never learned.

. . . In their classic How to Read a Book Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren speak of Elementary Reading, Inspectional Reading, and Analytical Reading.  To get students to that third level, you have to read with them.  Open the book during class.  Make them read aloud to the class.  Discuss the implications of those ideas.
Rees is also the author of the recently published Industrialization and the Transformation of American Life, covering the US 1877-1929 (and available as an e-book). His list of "case studies" makes me suspect that even those of us who think we know some history may benefit from reading it . . . out loud or otherwise. (If it's as good as it could be, I might agitate for a prequel covering 1845-1877.)

Jonathan Rees, "Bend, Don't Break," The Historical Society, posted 26 November 2012 ( : accessed 26 November 2012).

Jonathan Rees, Industrialization and the Transformation of American Life: A Brief Introduction (Armonk NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2012).

Harold Henderson, "History for Non-Readers," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 29 November 2012 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]


Sonja Hunter said...

I'm sure there have always been some "non-readers" out there (something I don't understand at all), but I wonder if it is more common now than it was, say, thirty years ago. If so, I wonder if the video game and run-your-child-to-activities-everyday-after-school culture might contribute to this phenomenon.

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 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