Wednesday, May 16, 2018

thoughts on real writing and reading

Welp,  here we are in the last full week of school over here in the desert.  How did that happen?

Finals and concerts and wrap-ups are in full-swing, inching into every corner of the calendar (exacerbated this year, I think, due to the teacher strike and trying to squeeze everything in before that last school bell rings next week).  

As Grace and Claire have been getting ready for finals, I remembered something I learned a while ago (just totally rambling thoughts, so bear with me, but I just want to have them written down here).

1)  About a year ago I went to a class (for young women at church).  The class taught us tips on "how to study."  I learned so much.  But the biggest thing I came away with was how important it is to take notes.  To actually write the notes.  Did you know there's something that happens in your brain (it releases more neurochemicals for long term memory storage) to help you remember things better if you actually write with a pen and pencil?  Something about how you form those letters on a page cements them so much more clearly in your brain.  I don't remember anything these days, but I remember those notes I took in that class so it must be true!  Ha!  

Because that idea hit me so much I loved reading something similar in my "Tech-Wise Family" book last month:

But really, I think we're losing the lost art of writing.  Sure, we can type up a storm.  And we can text like there's no tomorrow.  

But sometimes when I sit and write things down (I try to write in my journal, notes from meetings, etc.) my hand aches after just a few minutes.  I'm losing that muscle strength with all this typing that's going on.  Which is fine, but I feel like in a way my memory strength is weakening right along with that hand muscle strength of mine.  So I'm doing all I can to keep writing popular around here.  

Maybe we'll have to work that into summer goals.  Maybe that's why I love seeing my kids' real notes at the end of the year so much.  (Check out all that real writing and doodling over HERE).  Now they have chrome books at school...tons of typing going on, and "handing in" assignments through the press of a button rather than a piece of paper.  

And maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think that's a little bit sad.

There's a cool idea HERE ("brain-writing") that I think I'll do with the girls as we anticipate summer plans, and I'm determined to keep us all writing in our journals...and pushing the girls to remember to take notes in class ...promising (hoping) that will help them remember things better as finals approach.

2)  So if it's so much better to "real-write" notes and words to help all those neuroconnectors in our brains, does that apply to reading as well?  Yes, once again I'm old fashioned and I LOVE the feel of a real book in my hands.  Love to be able to rip-turn the pages to mark the sections I love.  Love to be able to refer back to the "good stuff" over and over again if I want to.

But lately I've been reading a ton.  Which seems counterintuitive when there's a lot going on, but I've discovered the beauty of audible (so really I can't claim I've been reading, I've been listening).  And boy howdy, can I ever speed through books right at the same time as I do the dishes, fold laundry, run to the grocery store, etc.  

I'm trying to figure out how I feel about that.  

I have learned so much from the books I've "read" (really meaning "listened to") the last few months, but are they going to have the same power to change my thinking as a real book will?  And do I really care?  

I think the answer, for me, is "YES!" on some books.  The ones that are just so beautifully written that I just have to re-read a particular passage that really moves me.  (like All the Light We Cannot See, The Book Thief, The Good Earth, Where the Wind Leads, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,...some of my all-time favorites.  

But some are pretty great to just listen to I have to admit.  Getting led into the world of a lonely woman who needed a friend in Eleanor Oliphant, on to the world of women spies in both world wars in The Alice Network, and definitely into the world of murderers in In Cold Blood (which made for such an interesting discussion for book club last night...it is a horrible book, the first real-life murder novel, but made me think perhaps more than any other...about lawyers and mental illness and nature vs. nurture and the sacred nature of life).  

Maybe listening is a good skill to be working on in a lot of ways right along with reading and writing?

Ok, I'm off to listen to my next book as I try to finish up some things around this house in anticipation of summer breaking loose, but there are my random reading and writing thoughts on a Wednesday.

3 comments:

  1. I think that listening and concentrating on what is being said is a very good skill.

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  2. In college, every day after class, I would rewrite my notes that I'd taken during class. Then to study for my tests, I would re-rewrite them again in a different color of pen. Worked like a charm!

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  3. thanks for these deep thoughts. :)

    ReplyDelete

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