Creative Approach to Reading

 

How can you read creatively?
And can reading creatively result in creative writing skills?

I love reading. If I win the lottery I would stop doing everything else and just read marvellous books. I would be drawn into exciting stories and I would read about marvellous animals and plants. . . And I would be soooo happy since there is nothing better than being lost in a book.

The expression “Lost in a book” usually refers to a child being drawn into a story. Forgetting everything else. But a child may also turn the page now and then without actually reading. The child may be lost in a discussion with himself. The words in the book is used as inspiration, something that triggers new ideas and opens up think dive to a world of new exciting possibilities.

Reading is a solitary activity and the plot in the book may have led to a new idea and the child may be exploring the idea. A discussion where the story sparks new ideas can help a child to organise his understanding about the world. Ideas are not born out of nothing. Instead ideas and understanding are built upon other ideas.And reading a book may spark lots of ideas.

In educational circles everything that has to do with creativity is a bit of a buzz phrase. But the phrase creative reading was actually coined by the American poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote in his journal in 1836, “There is creative reading as well as creative writing”

Often the term creative reading is used merely as a synonym for thoughtful and careful reading of the text. But the term are also used to describe a way of interpreting the text in ways that the authors might never have considered themselves. Some authors belive that creative writing cannot be taught but creative reading may help towards learning to write.

The author Dorothy L. Sayers wrote:

Reading being one of our principal occupations on long, dark evenings, I should like to explain what I mean by saying that it ought to be done creatively. . . .

[I]f the author’s style appeals to you, do make a point of enjoying it. Get the feel of balance in a beautiful sentence, rejoice in the lovely appropriateness of the exact right word and thank your gods that the author had the wit and industry to choose that word, out of a whole dictionary full of less adequate words, for the express purpose of pleasing you. Entertain yourself by finding other words yourself and discovering why they sound so feeble by comparison. (Dorothy L. Sayers, Begin Here: A Statement Of Faith. Harcourt Brace & Company, 1942)

And Noam Chomsky said

Creative reading . . . surely is a way of fostering [a student’s innate potential]; getting people to wrestle with complex ideas and to find ways of expressing them ought to be at the heart of the writing program. . . .

A critical evaluation of the text is often considered as a fundamental aspect of creative reading.

Questions such as

  1. What is the writer trying to do?
  2. How well does he succeed in doing it?
  3. Is it worth doing? . . .

Yet a creative approach to reading can be so much more.

Encouraging your child to think about certain things before he starts reading can develop his imagination.

  • Your child can try to describe the content of the book before reading it.
  • Book covers can give inspiration, and if your child has read something else by the author, he might be able to come up with several ideas about the book and the characters.
  • It is also possible to read a chapter and try to imagine what happens in the next chapter.
  • Your child might like to solve mysteries or problems and reading half the book and then writing the end of the story is fun and challenging thinking activity.
  • The same idea can be used to write the sequel to a TV programme.
  • Use the characters and invent a new story.
  • Invent something to help the characters solve their problems.
  • Design a new world where the characters could be happy.
  • Take an interesting word in the book and play with it. Invent your own words inspired by the word. What does the new word mean?

A story or a text is just the beginning. Freedom to explore your comprehension and to be allowed to fly away with the story helps to develop not only a love for reading but also writing and thinking skills.

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