Early Childhood Education: the Importance of Phonological Awareness

Phonological Awareness

There are many factors that go into how a child learns to read, write, and spell.  Phonological awareness in early childhood is a proven predictor of how well a child will progress in their literary performance.  Today’s post explains the basics of phonological awareness and how to better develop it in young children. Read More →

Why I Love Reading Literature

I love literature. I can never have too much and my library will never be large enough. Literature has impacted my life in countless ways. As I’ve grown older, stories written by individuals long dead (but not forgotten) have stimulated my interest in history and many other subjects, while simultaneously influencing my personal development along the way. Literature is powerful and has the ability to shape who we become throughout our lives. It certainly has shaped the person I’ve become. The focus of today’s post is a short examination of literature – what it is, and why it has the ability to profoundly influence and affect the lives of so many.

Introduction

Mention literature to any average person from any part of the world and more often than not, the first name on his or her lips would perhaps be that of William Shakespeare. The thought that the work of one single individual, who lived so long ago, could create such an impact over time is indicative of the power of literature. More than four hundred years after his death, William Shakespeare lives on in the form of his writings, not only in the country he lived in, but in many parts of the world. Such is the power of literature.

So what is literature?

Most simply explained, it is a body of written work. But do all words that are written get the literature tag? They do not. Does this post count as literature? I think not. Reams of newspapers and magazines may have discussions on literature, but they aren’t literature per se.

Post 19th century, literature has come to be related to written works with imaginative, creative, or artistic value. However, that firmly excludes your TV’s user manual or even the copy of the latest magazine you’re reading (digital or print).

Literature has been around since man invented language and began the rich tradition of story telling. In the absence of the written word, the earliest form of literature must have been poetry that was easy to remember, and drama, that was interesting to watch and reproduce. That was the way stories of memorable hunts and wars were passed from generation to generation. And this early literature had the power to move ancient tribes. It had the power to pass on valuable information helping future generations better their own lives and understand the world around them.

With the advent of writing, literature was preserved better and in its original form.
The power of literature is awesome. It can make you feel and understand things totally alien to your otherwise mundane world. It can make you laugh or move you to tears. You can live every detail of tragedies real or imagined, just as you can forget your every day troubles in a world of happiness and delight. Literature lets you understand the minds of men long gone and gives you the vision to imagine fantastic shapes of our future. It can make you feel the first autumn chill on a sunny June afternoon and to smell a freshly baked mince pie in an aseptic hospital ward. Literature has power. It is power.

To get a feel of the power of literature first hand, pick up a good book from children’s literature. Now read it out loud to a child. No television or video is needed to see the child live each and every scene as fully in his mind as if it was happening in front of him, as if he were a part of the happenings. Who has seen a fairy, an elf, or a goblin? But every one of them dances in front of the child’s eyes. Making him laugh or clap or even maybe frown and look over his shoulder.

If such is the power of literature on a child, consider how it can move the minds of adults. How it can get them to act and change their own lives, and the lives of those around them. It not only catalogs the culture and civilization of different eras, but serves as the starting point of many modern thought processes as well. In the East for example, the vast literary works of the Buddhist and Hindu traditions were first orally passed and later written. Though hundreds of years old, these forms of literature continue to have a profound influence on the lives of many individuals today.

How has literature touched your life or perhaps even shaped the person that you are today? Have a great weekend everyone!