The Common Core in action

The Common Core requires that at least half of what elementary and middle school students read be non-fiction.  By 12th grade, that goes up to 70%.  And the non-fiction being read is not that of the great minds of our heritage but online posts, government documents, and United Nations proclamations.

The New York Times has an article on what the Common Core is doing to English classes.  Notice how educators are taking the opportunity to politically indoctrinate their pupils.  Notice how the approach forces what classic literature that is still read into a contemporary grid.  Notice how the whole enterprise is not raising standards, as the Core claims to do, but is rather dumbing down the curriculum. [Read more...]

Bibliotherapy

Did you know that there is such a thing as bibliotherapy, in which counselors will prescribe a course of books to read as a way of working through emotional or mental problems? [Read more...]

The digital generation prefers print on paper

I really enjoy my Kindle.  But when it comes to reading scholarly works, I need to flip back and forth, mark pages, study illustrations, and generally read more carefully.  I kind of need hard-copy printed books to do that.

Now it turns out that the Millennial generation, computer-literate and screen-oriented as they are, are the same way, maybe more so!  Their preference for reading old-fashioned books is overwhelming.

See why, with details about the mental difference between reading on paper and reading on a screen after the jump. [Read more...]

Lenten reading

One of my customary Lenten observances is always to read some heavy-duty theology or some deep, deep classics of devotion.  Over the years, I’ve read works by Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and more modern theologians like Oswald Bayer.  Last year I read Martin Chemnitz, The Two Natures of Christ to my great benefit.  Another year, I read something much, much easier, but even more beneficial:  John Kleinig’s Grace Upon Grace.

I’m kind of undecided about what I will take up this year. Do you have any suggestions?  For me, but also for other readers of this blog?  (My criteria after the jump.) [Read more...]

A tale of two reading lists

Annie Holmquist compares a middle school reading list from 1908 to one from today.  It isn’t just that the latter is dumbed down in comparison, though it is.  She goes on to analyze the content of what is taught in these two sets of books and the kinds of education they exemplify. [Read more...]

My new book on the imagination

 I have published a new book, one that I collaborated on with Matt Ristuccia, an evangelical pastor in Princeton.  It’s called Imagination Redeemed:  Glorifying God with a Neglected Part of Your Mind. 

The imagination often gets mystified these days with its association with the arts and creativity.  We get into those areas in the book, but we are trying to recover a much more basic understanding of the concept.  The imagination is simply the power of our minds to conjure up mental images.  When you use your memory to recall past experiences, when you make plans for the future by visualizing what you are going to do tomorrow, when you daydream, when you dream, when you fantasize, when your consciousness is just running on neutral, you are using your imagination.

There have been quite a lot of Christian reflection on the faculty of the mind known as reason.  Other mental powers such as the emotions and the will have gotten significant attention.  But there has not been that much lately on the imagination, which, arguably we use more than any of the other mental faculties.  Older theologians, however, from Augustine to Luther, did address the imagination, as we go into.  After the jump, I will explain some of  what this book gets into and has to offer. [Read more...]


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