Discover more from Your Reading Life
Reading + Dialogue = Fun Aha! Moments
Talk about what you're reading
I am Thomas Covington Dyer. Welcome to Your Reading Life.
I have been an avid reader for my whole life. As long as I can remember. As a kid I’d be super proud of myself for reading books my parents read like books by John Grisham and Michael Crichton.
Fairly often I’d read a book and it’d like a fire for me. I’d learn all this stuff. I’d really get something new for the first time. It happened when I read Trinity by Leon Uris about Ireland’s struggle for independence from British colonizers. The fire made me want to tell everyone about what I’d read and learned. “The injustice!” “It’s so complicated!”
No one was about to read the 100s of pages so we could have the shared meaning and context so I remained isolated. I also remember less of the book and just get it less having had no one to talk about it with. I’m guessing I would have retained and understood it better with a few conversations.
Fast forward to high school and I find myself in a history class with a totally different mode of instruction. We’d read some section of the history text book and then the teacher Mr Krenkle would sit up on his desk in front of the class and would talk through the questions we had inspired by the reading. We got to follow long lines of thought, be curious, ask or think through endless followup questions. We could go much deeper into the history, the text, and all that was in between or left out. We really thought together in conversation.
It was a total revelation for me. So cool.
My grand takeaway. Read. OK, great. Books are cool. Take notes even. Helps to remember or process a bit of what you’re reading, maybe. But do both and think through what you read out loud. Now we’re cooking with gas. That’s much better than just reading and maybe taking some notes.
What happens when you talk it through is you make connections you would have normally missed. You “get it”. You piece the puzzle together. You end up with that awesome experience (that’s horribly cliche at this point) when you’re like, “Aha! Whoa! It makes so much sense now!” and then you’re drawn deeper in, “Well then that means…” or “Well if that’s true then what about…”
I’m going to share more and more here about reading, dialogue and aha! moments. Both my own and how you might cultivate more of all three in your own reading life.