Have you ever felt that reading a good book makes you better able to connect with your fellow human beings? If so, the results of a new scientific study back you up, but only if your reading material is literary fiction – pulp fiction or non-fiction will not do.
Psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano, at the New School for Social Research in New York, have proved that reading literary fiction enhances the ability to detect and understand other people’s emotions, a crucial skill in navigating complex social relationships.
Below is a table containing the words that make all the difference in a competent user of English, because according to James I. Brown, Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Minnesota, in his book Programmed Vocabulary, they contain the twenty most useful prefixes and the fourteen most important roots in our language. These constituent parts make up over 14,000 words in a collegiate dictionary size or close to an estimated 100,000 words in an unabridged dictionary. In other words, you should know these words and understand why they mean what they mean since doing so will grant you a superior vocabulary. Click it for a slightly larger view.
Are you uncomfortable with ambiguity? It’s a common condition, but a highly problematic one. The compulsion to quell that unease can inspire snap judgments, rigid thinking, and bad decision-making.
Fortunately, new research suggests a simple antidote for this affliction: Read more literary fiction.
A trio of University of Toronto scholars, led by psychologist Maja Djikic, report that people who have just read a short story have less need for what psychologists call “cognitive closure.” Compared with peers who have just read an essay, they expressed more comfort with disorder and uncertainty—attitudes that allow for both sophisticated thinking and greater creativity.
“Exposure to literature,” the researchers write in the Creativity Research Journal, “may offer a (way for people) to become more likely to open their minds.”
Djikic and her colleagues describe an experiment featuring 100 University of Toronto students. After arriving at the lab and providing some personal information, the students read either one of eight short stories or one of eight essays. The fictional stories were by authors including Wallace Stegner, Jean Stafford, and Paul Bowles; the non-fiction essays were by equally illustrious writers such as George Bernard Shaw and Stephen Jay Gould.
Afterwards, each participant filled out a survey measuring their emotional need for certainty and stability. They expressed their agreement or disagreement with such statements as “I don’t like situations that are uncertain” and “I dislike questions that can be answered in many different ways.” Continue reading
Freshmen: Macbeth E-text, Suggested Prompts for Macbeth Essay, Weaving & Citation Guide, Proofreading Expectations, Outline Form (Not Required),Thesis Generator, Thesis Notes, Transitions Toolbox, Semester Grade Chart, MLA Template (click File, then Make a Copy), Final Exam Schedule, Exam Study Guide
Pre-IB English 2: Macbeth E-text, “Reading Shakespeare”, Theme Log, A3-4 Roles, B3-4 Roles, C3-4 Roles, Suggested Open Prompts for Macbeth, Weaving & Citation Guide, Proofreading Expectations, Thesis Generator, Thesis Notes, Outline Form, Transitions Toolbox, Final Exam Schedule, Theme Reflection #2, Semester Grade Chart, Exam Study Guide
AP Literature: Past Open Essay Prompts, Suggested Works for Open Essay, AP Lit Terms, AP Score Calculator, Major Works Data Sheet (2018), MWDP (2017), MWDP (2016), MWDP (2015), MWDP (2014), MWDP (2013)
Pre-IB English 2: Macbeth E-text, “Reading Shakespeare” Packet, Theme Log, A3-4 Roles, B3-4 Roles, C3-4 Roles, Suggested Open Prompts, Quotation Weaving & Citation Guide, Proofreading Expectations, Thesis Generator, Thesis Notes, Proof-of-Concept Outline Form (Unofficial), Transitions Toolbox & Elaboration/Analysis Starters, Theme Reflection #2, Semester Grade Chart, Final Exam Study Guide, Final Exam Schedule (for IB students)
AP Literature: Major Works Data Sheet Template, Past Open Essay Prompts, Suggested Works for Open Essay, AP Lit Terms, AP Score Calculator, Major Works Data Packet (2017), MWDP (2016), MWDP (2015), MWDP (2014), MWDP (2013)
Pre-IB English 2: Macbeth E-text, Macbeth Notes, “Reading Shakespeare” Packet, Macbeth Theme Log, A3-4 Roles, B3-4 Roles, C3-4 Roles, Freshmen FSA Reading Testing Room List, FSA Practice Test, Final Exam Schedule (for IB students)
AP Literature: Reading Schedule, MLA Template, Final Poetry Packet, Notes on Absurdism, Major Works Data Sheet Template, Literary 3×3 Examples, Past Open Essay Prompts, Suggested Works for Open Essay, Senior Exam Schedule (for traditional, non-AP classes)