How Reading Rewires Your Brain

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This is an excellent post on the positive impact of reading.

M.C. Tuggle, Writer

Reading

There is no doubt in my mind that modern society traps its subjects in an unhealthy and unsuitable environment. That stark realization motivates many of my stories (see here and here, for example). The most disturbing symptom of how toxic our culture has become is the increasingly acerbic mutual distrust evident in current politics. Little wonder so many feel depressed, powerless, and alienated.

Rather than utilizing technology to better our lives, we let it rule us. Distracted by smart phones, buffeted by inescapable sensory overload, and hobbling our discourse in 140-character outbursts at each other, we’re incapable of understanding our own inner selves, much less that of others.

Fortunately, the tonic for the condition we find ourselves in is close at hand — if only we would use it, as this eye-opening piece in big think proclaims:

Research shows that reading not only helps with fluid intelligence, but with…

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Always Go With The Flow- Books and Singing

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This is another wonderful post from an excellent teacher!

A Teacher's Reflections

From books, to mending, to singing

I have so many books in my classroom for children to access all the time.  Books are the doorway to learning.  If they’re available for children at all times, reading becomes exciting.  It certainly is in my classroom.

Every September, our books become torn, “well loved.”  The good thing is children are constantly reading books.  Reminders of taking care of books often go out the window when school begins.  In an effort to bring taking care of books into a hands-on lesson, I decided to set up a book mending table as an activity.  Children brought me any and all books that needed mending.  They watched me carefully tape rips so that words and illustrations matched.  They were fascinated.  More importantly, they got a big dose of book care.  There’s nothing better than hands-on learning.

What happened next was a surprise.  Thank goodness…

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Beautiful Writing, Part 4: Charles Dickens

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Charles_Dickens_1858

(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

Charles Dickens was one of the most prolific and important British writers of the 1800s. His works have been read by millions, and most people have been influenced by his writing, even if they have not read him. How many people are unaware of A Christmas Carol? This is just one of his many books and novellas. I will offer as an example of his beautiful writing part of the first page of A Tale of Two Cities, which I believe to be one of the best openings of a novel.

A_Tale_of_Two_Cities_title_page

(https://www.wikidata.org)

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it

was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it

was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of Light, it was the season of

Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of

despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing

before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were

all going direct the other way–in short, the period was

so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest

authorities insisted on its being received, for good or

for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

 

 

Puerto Rico

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This post is extremely important. Please read and consider sharing it.

palabras DelMar

I am writing today from within. I write from the roots of my being. I am an American, a Puerto Rican. I am the daughter of an island born on the mainland of a country in turmoil over identity. Today, I see inaction on behalf of other American citizens, on inhabitants of an island in despair. Americans absent from inclusion, they live on an island bombarded by the waters of grief and we are all hurting. Our island is in trouble and we are stranded on the mainland, hopeless, fearful, and desperate.

La isla del encanto, la isla de mi niñez, drowned by a storm— is surfacing for air.

And I see all of us crying out for our people.

I see humanity emerging from the depths of tragedy.

We cry out with memories of a coqui singing, the sounds of parrandas bellowing through the night, el cuatro is the…

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Beautiful Writing: Part 3, Walt Whitman

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Walt Whitman is one of the most important American, if not world, poets. His work changed poetry, and he has been called the Poet of Democracy. His collection Leaves of Grass, is one of the books of poetry that I recommend everyone read sometime in his or her life.

I want to offer two examples of his work: this first is a brief excerpt from his preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass as a representation of beautiful writing. This is from the preface that Whitman wrote to his work, and it is in prose, but it reads like poetry.

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and

the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that

asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your

income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not

concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward

the people, take off your hat to nothing known or

unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely

with powerful uneducated persons and with the young

and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in

the open air every season of every year of your life, re-

examine all you have been told at school or church or

in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul,

and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the

richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent

lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your

eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

 

My second Whitman offering is perhaps his most famous poem and is about the death of Abraham Lincoln: “O Captain! My Captain!”

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;

                         But O heart! heart! heart!

                            O the bleeding drops of red,

                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,

                                  Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

                         Here Captain! dear father!

                            This arm beneath your head!

                               It is some dream that on the deck,

                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!

                            But I with mournful tread,

                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,

                                  Fallen cold and dead.

 

IS THE UNIVERSE CONSCIOUS?

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This post by KD Dowdall is deeply thought provoking. I hope everyone who reads it will enjoy the depth of thinking this piece evokes.

K. D. Dowdall

“For centuries,” writes Corey S. Powell, who is a contributing editor at Discover Magazine and Aeon Magazine,  “modern science has been shrinking the gap between humans and the rest of the universe, from Isaac Newton showing that one set of laws applies equally to falling apples and orbiting moons, while Carl Sagan intoned that we are made of star stuff, meaning that the atoms of our bodies were literally forged in the nuclear furnaces of other stars.”

Furthermore, “Gregory Matloff,” writes Powell, “is a veteran physicist at NYC College of Technology, who has ideas that are shocking.  Matloff recently published a paper arguing that humans may be like the rest of the universe in substance and in spirit, with a proto-consciousness field that could extend throughout all of space adding that stars may be thinking entities that deliberately control their own paths.”

“Put more bluntly,” writes Powell, “Stars and…

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To Wish Upon a Star

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This is a beautiful poem on the power of love.

K. D. Dowdall

If you wish upon a star,

For true love’s sake,

Please don’t tell it,

Where you are,

For stars are fire,

Burning bright,

And it will surely,

Take your sight,

For if your love is true,

No star can ere replace,

The light of love,

Upon your face,

Should there be,

The darkest night.

K. D. Dowdall

Copyright 2016

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