As discussed in my previous post, Susan Wise Bauer encouraged mothers (and particularly home-schooling mothers) to become readers. She particularly encouraged the reading of literature that stretches the mind and develops our brains. Anticipating the struggles that average readers, such as myself, face when tackling weightier books, she suggested reading these books thrice. Yes, three times, is what she said. I must have had a horrified look on my face. But so must all the other listeners in the lecture hall, because she continued to explain.
She told us that the first time she reads things, she reads to abosrb, but does not read to understand all that the author suggests. If there are any difficult passages that she struggles to grasp, she simply marks them and then moves on. She explained that this will help her the second time through.
Once she has finished the book, and has thus developed a broad focus and preliminary understanding of the author's perspective, she returns to the book for a second reading. This read is more like a perusal, simply returning to marked places to see if there is some clarification offered from having finished the book. (She admitted that often many of her initial struggles at understanding are clarified at this point.)
Her final walk through the book is a compiling of thoughts and a place to determine response to the book.
She likened the 3 reads to the 3 phases of learning: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The opinions and dialogue (rhetoric stage) about any topic can only come once information is collected (grammar stage) and understood (logic stage).
I have never worked through books this way. However, as I've been contemplating a book review of Created To Be His Help Meet, I have been thinking of re-reading the book. This may give me the parameters to analyze this book with greater clarity and discernment.
My mom's been visiting this week from Ontario, so I haven't begun any "heavy" reading yet, but this has definitely inspired me to pick up some volumes that I ordinarily may leave to my student-type husband to wade through. Topping the list are some theologians, as well as some classics. I came across an interesting book the other day called Honey For A Woman's Heart, by Gladys Hunt. Since I have the child's version, it caught my interest. It just may be a good place to start for some suggestions of brain-stretching exercises.
P.S. I've heard before the phenomenal brain benefits of memorizing scripture. I cannot remember where I heard this. If you know, please drop me a line. Of course, the benefits of hiding scripture for our spirit are obvious, but as with many things that God has designed, there are often a plethora of additional benefits to God-honoring behavior. I'm sure scripture memory makes the brain stronger, but I'm looking for the studies which affirm that.