How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles van Doren

Read: 28 March, 2013

This book was recommended to me by a homeschooling mother, and I can certainly see why. It’s a wonderful little primer on how to read books in such a way that the reader is able to get as much from the experience as possible. It covers how to make notations in a book, how to write an outline, how to use external materials effectively, and how to engage in a conversation between reader and writer. It even has a section where it goes into the specifics of how to read different kinds of texts.

I think that it would be a fantastic foundational text for a high school level English class – whether in a classroom or a homeschool (or, even, to be read by an industrious individual looking for a little self-improvement). It’s not a book best read at once, but rather digested chapter by chapter over the span of, say, a school year. It’s a little dry, so if you’re planning to use it with students, be prepared to liven it up with fun exercises, conversations, and sample readings. But taken in smaller chunks, it shouldn’t be too painful, and I think it would be well worthwhile.

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One thought on “How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles van Doren

  1. We are a not-for-profit educational organization, founded by Mortimer Adler and we have recently made an exciting discovery–three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos–lively discussing the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.

    Three hours with Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren, lively discussing the art of reading, on one DVD. A must for libraries and classroom teaching the art of reading.

    I cannot exaggerate how instructive these programs are–we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

    Please go here to see a clip and learn more:

    ISBN: 978-1-61535-311-8

    Thank you,

    Max Weismann

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