Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Well Educated Mind ~ Chapter 4

The Well Educated Mind ~ Chapter 4 notes


Starting to read: Final Preperations


*Most of all, a how to read book can assure you that the difficulty you have in reading doesn't necessary reflect on your mental capacity*

This was very comforting to me as I struggled with HTRAB and this one, although easier than the other, is not the most simple book I have ever read.


Difficulty can be broken down into small and managable steps.

1. Understand the books basic structure and arguement.

2. Evaluate the books assertations.

3. Form an opinion about the book's idea.


3 Skills of reading:

1. Understanding

2. Analysis

3. Evaluation


These three skills will be exercised differently for each kind of book.


General Principles for Reading

1. When you first read through a book, don't feel that you have to grasp completely every point the writer is making. If you find yourself puzzled by a certain section, or not completly sure what the author means by a particular term, turn down the corner of  a page and keep going.  You'll have a chance to come back to that confusing section later on. The secret to reading a difficult book is simply this: Keep reading.  You don't have to 'get it all' the very first time through.


2. Underline in your books, jot notes in the margins and turn the corners of your pages down. Public education is a beautiful dream, but public classrooms too ofter train students not to mark, write in or in anyway make the boooks their own.


*I love how she says -Defacing your book is much more efficient*


3. When you first begin to read a book, read the title page, the copy on the back coverm and the table of contents. Puts you 'in the picture'  before you begin to read.


4. Don't take extensive notes on your first reading.


5. As you read, use your journal to jot down questions that come to your mind.


6. Once you've finished your first reading, go back and assemble your summary sentences into an informal outline, an initial 'table of contents'/


You progress into the second stage of inquiry by doing the following:

1. Go back and re-read those sections of the book that you identified as difficult. Look back through your written comments. Finally, re-read your summaries.

2. Dig deeper into the books structure.  Answer questions about how the writer has put his words together. Jot answers down in your notebook. These notes can be more detailed than those first reading notes.

3. Ask: Why did the author write this book? What did they set out to do? Lay out the facts, convince you of the truth in a set of deductions give you an emotional experience.

4. Now ask: How well did the writer sucessfully carry out his intentions? If not, why? Where did they fall short? Are theur facts proven, his proofs inadequate or his emotional sceens flat? What part of this book did I find convincing, which ones left me unmoved?


A note on Evaluations

*I guess I missed the point of this section - there is nothing written in my notes - will go and re-read after I finish my first read through.


A note on the lists that follow

*Same with this section.  Will re-read.


The Fourth Step: Practicing Grammar-Stage Reading Skills


Six principles govern the 'first stage' of reading:

1. Plan on reading each book more than once.

2 Underline or mark passages that you find interesting or confusing. Turn down the corners of difficult sections; jot your questions in the margin.

3. Before you begin, read the title page, the copy on the back and the table of contents.

4. At the end of each chapter or section, write down a sentence or two that summarizes the content. No details at this time.

5. As you read, use your journal to jot down each question that comes to your mind.

6. Assemble your summary sentences into an informal outline and then give the book a brief title and an extensive subtitle.


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