Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#23: Lit (Tony Reinke)

on May 16, 2013

Since I'm making significant progress on the 3 books I'm reading on this mini-vacation, I thought I should probably write up the review of the other book I read at the end of the school term.

Lit was not exactly what I was expecting. Tony Reinke divides the book into two sections. Part 1 explores the importance of reading in the Christian life and then proceeds to give tips for improving your (non)-reading life in the latter half. While I found Reinke's concept that reading both sacred and secular texts is crucial to the development of a Christian worldview, I thought his logic was a bit skewed at times. I also thought it was an extreme argument to say that EVERYTHING we read should be chosen in light of how it will develop our spiritual walk with Christ. I'm sorry…..there are books that we read that are not going to improve or destroy my Christian walk. That doesn't mean I should not read them because they have no value. After all, we live in a fallen world. I am to avoid what will sever my relationship with Jesus as I walk in the world. Jesus Himself prayed that we would protected from evil while we are in the world, not that we be taken out of the world. (John 17)

Part 2 was geared toward the non-reader and tended to focus on non-fiction works. I did appreciate a few of the recommendations. Always reading with a pen in hand is a great idea. I like to mark my own books with passages I want to remember or that especially moved me, but I tend to avoid it because I never remember where I saw the passage. Reinke also has a solution to this issue (although it seems to be time consuming). The author suggests creating a database of quotes on your computer, organizing them by topic and including author, title, and page. This allows for cross-reference between books that discuss similar concepts. I've committed to doing this for a couple of months to see how it works, how much time it requires, and if it looks promising.

The other suggestions that I found most helpful were about how to raise children who are readers. Two concepts that I especially liked was a daily oral reading time and family book reviews. The oral readings can occur throughout the day and come from a variety of books. (The author was clear that it is not necessary to read only fictional narratives aloud.) The reading is not the most important component; the discussion that occurs in response to the reading is where the learning happens and the love for reading is developed. It sounds like a very involved process, but when you consider that it can take 15-20 minutes at the end of a meal together the time commitment seems to be insignificant.

Reinke offers to keep his children in books constantly as long as they are willing to share the three passages they found most interesting as well as explain why they agreed (or disagreed) with the concept. This insures that children are not simply plowing through the words on the page without comprehension and allows parents insight into the topics that are of greatest interest to their child while observing the moral, ethical, and logical development. While it may not work for every family, it certainly is an interesting concept and one I would like to try with my own children one day.



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