Saturday, August 4, 2012

Why Reading the Classics is Still Important for Youth Today (Guest Post)

There is a shared culture when it comes to growing up in America, there is no doubt about that. Our country is a country that has a respect and fondness for the past, even as we keep moving forward and doing things that in the past were unthinkable. 

One of those shared cultural experiences happens in elementary school, in which most kids throughout the country are taught to read the same books. Everyone knows who Dr. Seuss is, who Rudyard Kipling is, who Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are and who Shel Silverstein is. These are all things we become accustomed to as children, and it gives us a shared language. The process continues throughout the rest of schooling as well, as we all get older we begin reading Shakespeare, George Orwell, Frederick Douglass, Kurt Vonnegut, Oscar Wilde, John Steinbeck and dozens of others.

These books, as well as many others that are both newer and older, are considered the classics. They are considered the books that every person should read because it will shape how they look at the world, and how they act and think within that world. But, an unfortunate thing occurs when we get out of school, we stop reading. There are tons of classics out there, but we read only a few in school, and then stop doing it altogether. It is a shame because there is a lot more we can share with each other through our experiences with these classics. Learning does not stop with school, it should continue throughout life, and so should reading the classics. There are more classics out there than you can imagine, and you can spend a lifetime reading them, without reading them all. Here are some reasons why you should read the classics:

Cherish the mind
With the decrease in reading there has been a huge increase in health club memberships. In some way, this is a roundabout argument, in which humans have begun to be more obsessed with their bodies than they are with their minds. After all, when you walk down the street or step into a bar, a potential mate can not see your mind, but they can see your muscles. The mind is the key to living a long, fulfilled life, not the body. That is not to say that you should neglect the body, but rather that you should not do so in sacrifice of cultivating your mind. That is why you should read the classics.

You get a better vocabulary
In today’s text crazy world, in which vocabulary has been slaughtered at the altar, reading the classics can curb those tendencies toward monotony and the destruction of language.

About the Guest Author: William is a freelance writer for numerous publications, both online and in print, in article form and in blog form. He writes on numerous subjects, including pop culture, history and even car insurance. 

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Erin O'Riordan said...

Tit Elingtin and I drove through Mark Twain's hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, on Thursday, August 2 and Sunday, August 5, to and from our way to our nephew's wedding in Kansas. We didn't get a chance to stop, but we saw a lot of billboards for the Mark Twain riverboat, the Mark Twain caves, etc.

Alyce Wilson said...

I completely agree with you that it's important to read the classics. When I was a child, I used to deliberately take home at least one award-winning book every week, and it enriched my reading immensely.