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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