The Classics Live Again

 

If you know me, you know I’m all about the classics, whether it’s literature or music. One thing I would like to impart to children, my own in particular, is a love of classic literature and classical music.

Why? I know it’s a bit odd.  While in school, most kids despise the classics (even though many of us embrace them as adults).  Classical music is famous for its snooty stereotype.  I remember playing a Bach piano piece for my mamaw (yes, “mamaw”, ’cause I’m classy like that), only to have her ask me, “Do you know anything by the Oak Ridge Boys?”  And I can’t count the times one of my students would ask, “Can’t we listen to country?” when I played the inevitable classical works as they entered my classroom.

The Classics Live Again

But I feel that the classics lift our spirits and enhance our minds – even if we may not realize it at the time.  Along that line, I also feel it’s important to speak to children as we would to adults, not underestimating them.  They may not always understand all our words, but they’ll comprehend from the context.

When my girls were little, I read plenty of “regular” books to them.  But I also made sure to read some Beatrix Potter, with its lovely language.  We also enjoyed Charlotte’s Web, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, and The Chronicles of Narnia.

In recent years, I have wanted to branch out a bit.  Gene Stratton Porter was a famous Indiana author at the turn of the 20th century, and I chose her Girl of the Limberlost and Freckles to read to the girls one summer.  The characters were so well-developed and the language so intriguing that the girls were drawn in and would always urge me to “keep reading!!”

About a year ago, I read an article about a mom who had read Tom Sawyer to her son at the bus stop.  She was so enthusiastic about the experience that I knew Tom would be next on our list.  The girls loved hearing about Tom and Huck’s adventures, and I found myself enjoying the book more than I had when I read it as a teen.

So, I encourage you to read a classic to your kids (if you have kids at home, even if they’re older), or just for yourself.  Take it slow – just a few pages at a time will be enough to “hook” listeners.

  • The classics endure because all the greatest truths have been written in fiction.
  • We learn to think by encountering complex and divergent ideas, which are contained in classic literature.
  • “The brain becomes baffled and takes learning to a higher level when challenged.  We grow by making ourselves do what we can’t do yet.” – Michael Clay Thompson, educator

A house without books is like a room without windows – Horace Mann

 

9 thoughts on “The Classics Live Again

  1. I agree! I am not familiar with Gene Stratton Porter, so a trip to the library is in our not-too-distant future! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. I love the classics, Susan! Books. Music. Literature. Design. You can’t beat something that’s tried and true. 🙂

    XO,

    Sheila

  3. I agree with you about the classics. It is so much fun to have my kids now reading those I loved as a child. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  4. I totally agree with you that we should read good quality books to our kids. It is just so important, and since these classics have passed the test of time we know the kids will really enjoy them if everyone just gives them a chance.

    By the way, I had a Mamaw too, and I too think it is quite classy 🙂

  5. From the girl currently reading all of Jane Austen’s works…two thumbs up!!

  6. I always read quality literature to my boys, and I really think it helped develop their thinking processes, not to mention developing a love of good literature! It’s hard for me to read “fluff” books – but as a writer it is a little intimidating, wondering if I can ever write as well as what I demand when I read!

  7. My husband would purchase 2nd hand books for our son to read when he was on summer break. They would then sit and discuss them.
    It wasn’t only an educational exercise but their bonding time.

  8. I agree totally! Read the classics to and with your kids. Listen to classical music and it will improve their educational chances. Very good advice. ♥ ∞

  9. As a young girl I read some books by Gene Stratton Porter. I wonder how I got interested in them? I checked them out from the Huntingburg Library. I’ll never forget the librarian, Miss Jenn. She was a tiny single lady, who wore a hearing aide, and she always knew my library number, from memory. Also the Huntingburg Library had a certain smell – and to this day, some 50 years later, it smells the same.

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