How to Read a Book 1

Words&Phrases

1.Tuition

I am more familiar with the regular  meaning of this word—the amount of money that you have to pay for being taught particular subjects, especially in a university, college, or private school. This word also has a meaning as teaching or instruction, which means if you are given tuition in a particular subject, you are taught about that subject. For instance, the courses will give the beginner personal tuition in all types of outdoor photography.

2.Sheer

As an adjective, sheer has three meanings. The most commonly seen one is perpendicular or nearly so; nevertheless, in the sentence “A great many pupils do poorly in high school because of sheer ineptitude in getting meaning from the printed page," it means nothing other than. In other words,  sheer can be used to emphasize that a state or situation is complete and does not involve or is not mixed with anything else, which is similar to words like utter or complete. The third meaning is very thin, mostly used to describe fabric.

3.Tracts

The only meaning I could think of for this word was the system of organs and tubes in an animal's or person's body. In fact, it has two more meanings as a noun. The first is an area of indefinite extent, typically a large one(e.g. a vast tract of land is ready for development); the second is a short treatise in pamphlet form, typically on a religious subject(e.g. she produced a feminist tract, `Comments on Birth-Control', in 1930).

4.Entail

This is a new word for me. In the sentence,“What does active reading entail?”,it means involving something as a necessary or inevitable part (if one thing entails another, it involves it or causes it). This sentence can be paraphrased as “What does active reading mean?” but it utterly loses the power of rhetoric.

5.To some degree

Though I have known this phrase since high school, I tend to use it more frequently in the front of a sentence, which makes my sentence seem written by a nonnative speaker. On the other hand, By using this phrase as a parenthesis, the sentence will be very much elevated as you can tell from this citation: “Since reading of any sort is an activity, all reading must to some degree be active”.

Summary

1.The mistake here is to suppose that receiving communication is like receiving a blow or a legacy or a judgment from the court. On the contrary, the reader or listener is much more like the catcher in a game of baseball.

2.We can take this analogy a step further. The art of catching is the skill of catching every kind of pitch—fast balls and curves, changeups and knucklers. Similarly, the art of reading is the skill of catching every sort of communication as well as possible.”

Reflection

The core concept of the first chapter is “active reading”. To be honest, it never occurred to me that reading should be a process of active choosing. By choosing, it not only means subject picking but also means treating different parts of a book differently. Most of my reading experiences, so far, have been quite pleasant, which would be reading for entertainment by the author’s words, because I seldom read books that are out of my comfort zone. I believe what the author presents us here is a way to read books that are not that enjoyable, books that entail more critical thinking and logical reasoning. As the citation shown in my summary, we readers should picture ourselves as a ball catcher when we read. A catcher does not have to run all over the cord to catch that score-winning ball. He just needs to focus on the strategies to catch different kinds of pitch—fast balls and curves, changeups and knucklers. The rest three main points of first chapter, “The Goals of Reading: Reading for Information and Reading for Understanding”; “Reading as Learning: The Difference Between Learning by Instruction and Learning by Discovery”; “Present and Absent Teachers” are all based on the notion of active reading. No words can express this idea better than the famous quote from Francis Bacon  “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested”. The ability of active reading is a skill of distinguishing these three different reading needs.

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