Reading For Enjoyment

Is the joy of learning through play still foremost in early childhood education? Does this really include reading for enjoyment, and not just reading as many condensed and abridged pieces of mind candy as possible to win a contest? This can be a good place for a discussion of the value of play in childhood, including the reading of true fairy tales (a broad term not just about fairies).  A good author covering the latter is Bruno Bettelheim in The Uses of Enchantment.  Even older learners need to read for enjoyment sometimes!  Here is another discussion of fairy tales, “Techno-Magic: Cinema and Fairy Tales” from Oxford UP.  From the Digital Commons: “The Fable and the Fabulous: The Use of Traditional Forms in Children’s Literature.”


No matter how much time you spend on Google Scholar or even in the College library, one good book relating to your research will make your day! And make it a lot easier.  Yet do you really read books?  I often hear that this is a disappearing habit…  These are some printed books in my library that I often refer to when advising students on their research. If a non-fiction book is appropriate for your research it will have notes and/or a bibliography. You may change books as you get into it, but rather than wander in the Googleplex Tower of Babel, plug in some keywords in the College eBrary, and databases, or even (yes, it’s truly possible!) wander the dusty stacks of your local college or community library, or dig out a book that has influenced you in some important way that ties into some aspects of our culture past, present & future.

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, by Nicholas Carr

Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole, by Benjamin Barber

The Coming Global Superstorm, by Art Bell, Whitley Streiber

Leisure the Basis of Culture, by Josef Pieper

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization, by Peter M. Senge

How to Read and Why, by Harold Bloom

The Elements of Style, by William Strunk and E.B. White

The Uses of Enchantment, by Bruno Bettelheim

On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction, by William Zinsser

Writing to Learn: How to Write – And Think – Clearly About Any Subject At All, by William Zinsser

The New SuperLeadership: Leading Others to Lead Themselves, by Charles Manz, Henry Sims

Tough Choices OR Tough Times: The Report of the new Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce.  National Center on Education and the Economy

An American Imperative: Higher Expectations for Higher Education: An Open Letter to Those Concerned about the American Future. The Wingspread Group on Higher Education

Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters, by Michael S. Roth

The Story of Ethics: Fulfilling Our Human Nature, by Kelly Clark, Anne Poortenga

The Social Conquest of Earth, by Edward O. Wilson

The Universe and Dr. Einstein: The Clearest, Most Readable Book on Einstein’s Theories Ever Published, by Lincoln Barnett (Foreword by Albert Einstein)

The Great Work: Our Way into the Future, by Thomas Berry

The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos: Humanity and the New Story, by Brian Swimme

The Dancing Universe: From Creation Myths to the Big Bang, by Marcelo Gleiser

Global Paradox, John Naisbitt

The Underground History of American Education: An Intimate Investigation into the Prison of Modern Schooling, by John Taylor Gatto

A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling, by John Taylor Gatto

Childhood Lost: How American Culture is Failing Our Kids, Edited by Sharna Olfman

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv

Horace’s Hope: What Works for the American High School, by Theodore Sizer

Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform, by Diane Ravitch

The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need – And What we Can Do About It, by Tony Wagner

Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools, by Jonathan Kozol

The Age of American Unreason, by Susan Jacoby

The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children, by E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation, by Vicki Abeles

The Closing of the American Mind, by Allan Bloom

Reading soon: One Nation Under Taught: Solving America’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Crisis, by Dr. Vince Pertram, Forword by Steve Forbes.

JUST PURCHASED: Other Minds, The Sea, and The Deep Origins of Consciousness, by Peter Godfrey-Smith. (I bet Langan likes this!)

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