> The Things You Can Read: More Research on the Benefits of Reading Good Literature

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

More Research on the Benefits of Reading Good Literature

More Research on the Benefits of Reading Good Literature:

Can reading Chekhov or Alice Munro improve your social skills? According to a study published yesterday in the journal Science, researchers "found that after reading literary fiction, as opposed to popular fiction or serious nonfiction, people performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence--skills that come in especially handy when you are trying to read someone's body language or gauge what they might be thinking," the New York Times reported. 

The researchers, social psychologists at the New School for Social Research in New York City, suggested the reason for this is that literary fiction "often leaves more to the imagination, encouraging readers to make inferences about characters and be sensitive to emotional nuance and complexity," the Times wrote.

"This is why I love science," said author Louise Erdrich, whose novel The Round House was used in one of the experiments, adding that the researchers "found a way to prove true the intangible benefits of literary fiction. Thank God the research didn't find that novels increased tooth decay or blocked up your arteries.... Writers are often lonely obsessives, especially the literary ones. It's nice to be told what we write is of social value. However, I would still write even if novels were useless.”-Shelf Awareness

The Power of Empathy:  Brene Brown

Here is how I use the video in class...I ask students to respond to the following questions on an index card:

Answer the following Questions:
  1. What does Ms. Brown say is the difference between sympathy and empathy?
  2. Give an example when you showed empathy toward someone.
  3. Do you agree with Ms. Brown's conclusions about empathy?

If you like this activity checkout our sister blog The Writing Whisperings and Start Scribbling!
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I am an educator with over 25 years of teaching experience; I currently teach English in the public school system of Virginia. In my spare time I am an avid reader. writer, reviewer, blogger, writing/art journaler, beekeeper, grad student, and MOTHER. - See more: Here

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