The beautiful chaos of the Christmas season should be mostly over. Now is the time to sit back and relax in the glow of the tree lights while soaking in the refreshing peace that comes from enjoying a good book. The ground here in Minnesota is covered with a fresh layer of snow and the kids are occupied by their new toys. So, why am I finding it so difficult to enter into the reading?
I don’t think I am alone. Many people are finding it difficult to concentrate when they try to read from a book. This problem has a solution. And that is, to start reading from print more often. The deep-reading “muscle” is like other muscles. The way to strengthen it is to use it.
If you, like many of us, find that it has become more challenging to deeply concentrate on a novel, don’t give up. Concentrating has become more difficult than it used to be; people find it is less natural to sit down with a printed book. Reading online feels much more compelling. English professor Karen Swallow Prior (in Christianity Today – January 2019) claims that:
“Between blog posts, Twitter feeds, listicles, and long-winded Facebook rants, everyone seems to be reading something most of the time—right from the palm of their hand. Yet, we don’t seem to be better readers. In fact, we seem to be worse.”
She points out that digital reading teaches our brains to move quickly over a lot of material and to veer off on rabbit trails, hopping from one link to another, never holding our attention long on any one idea. We become addicted to fresh stimulation—every minute a new image or a new Tweet. Reading becomes more like indulging in a bag of M&M’s rather than savoring a nourishing meal. And since we’re so full from the candy, we don’t have an appetite (or the time) for books.
Besides, if no one around us is reading books and everyone is talking about (or forwarding) some recent post, the winds of culture blow us along, and here we are—on our phones again.*
So what can we do?
Well…This is the season for resolutions and Well-Read Mom wants to help. If you desire to reclaim reading from print, model good reading habits for your children, and grow in friendship with others. Well-Read Mom invites you to join us for a six-week read-along to start 2021 with the resolution to read more and read well together.
Starting January 18th, Well-Read Mom is hosting a national read-along as we explore the theme of sisterhood present in the novel, In This House of Brede. Each week you will receive an email with a short, helpful video from Well-Read Mom founder, Marcie Stokman, and a reading assignment for the week. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to invite a sister, a friend, or a “soon-to-be” friend to read along with you (and us) as we exercise our deep-reading muscles and grow in the sisterhood of friendship at the same time. The read-along culminates on Monday, February 22 at 7:30 PM with a live national Zoom, where we discuss In This House of Brede as we celebrate our sisterhood together.
So as I continue to sit here enjoying the last few days of the twinkling tree lights and 2020 draws to a close and a new year dawns, I am distracted from my book and reflecting on all the things that brought beauty to my life this year. I am grateful for my Well-Read Mom family. I am grateful for the way that they encourage my personal growth, for the way that they push me to have deep and meaningful conversations rooted in friendship, and for the way that they help me to see the beauty that is present in everyday life. I am grateful for the monthly opportunity to exercise my deep-reading muscle; because in Well-Read Mom we read to be together, to share life, and, in the process, recognize a deeper truth that unites us: We are sisters!
Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!
*A section of this blog post was taken (with permission) from Marcie Stokman’s book: The Well-Read Mom. For more information on learning to read more and read well, purchase her book here. For more information on joining Well-Read Mom, click here.
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