Many people avoid reading classic literature and often never pick up another classic once they’re done with school. Many people don’t even read the assigned books while in class. For educators, you might feel like it’s worthless attempting to teach a class about classic literature; maybe one or two of them like it, but the rest resent you for assigning the book and take nothing from it. While some students may feel this way, do not approach studying classic literature believing it holds no value for your students. There are plenty of benefits from reading classic literature; here are just a few.
Simply reading through classic literature helps instill a stronger sense of language into students. There is certainly some outdated language in many classic works, but your students will learn new words that they may not encounter every day. Simply learning obscure words can be fun and educational.
Every day, your students likely encounter some reference to a classical work; they simply don’t realize it! Reading classic literature helps students identify common themes, tropes, events, and references in modern culture that they wouldn’t understand otherwise.
Find movie versions
For virtually any classic novel, you’ll be able to find a film adaption of it. Some of these adaptations may not be any good, but they can provide humor, an alternative view of the novel, or a more succinct understanding of the events and meaning of the book. Comparing movie versions can be fun and useful when studying the interpretation of a classic work.
Greater understanding of history
One of the biggest draws of classic literature is the place the novels hold in our collective history. It can be helpful for students to read classic novels set during major historical periods; they’ll gain a more comprehensive understanding of what the world was like at the time. Having interesting characters and plot to follow while studying historical events makes learning about history even easier.
Better social skills
Reading classical literature helps improve your understanding of how people behave in social situations, why they do certain things, and how these actions later affect them. Reading about the minute social interactions in classic literature helps modern students better navigate the world around them.
I’ve touched on specific examples of increased knowledge above, but your students also experience a general overall increase of knowledge. Regularly reading novels boosts emotional intelligence, helps comprehension skills, and can improve students’ performance in other subjects. Oftentimes, students don’t even realize they’re learning while they read.
Hopefully these benefits convince your students of the value of classic literature. There are plenty of works to choose from, so you can ease them into reading the heavier tomes. Start with something shorter that has an interesting plot and let your students learn the value of classic literature for themselves.