Powhatan has long been known for its literature-based curriculum. You can walk into any language arts classroom and see students immersed in real literature. We caught up with Mrs. Jaffe, a sixth grade English teacher, to talk about the importance and benefits of reading literature.

She recently came across two articles that resonated with her because they discussed the importance of instilling empathy through literature.

The Wall Street Journal: The Need to Read

The Washington Post: The long, steady decline of literary reading

Three specific themes emerged from the articles:

  • Attention
  • Critical Thinking
  • Empathy

Take a few minutes to listen to the podcast at the top of the page as we discuss these three themes and how they relate to the classroom.


Excerpt from the podcast:
Reading literature every day helps our students better understand themselves and the characters they read about. This leads to developing empathy for people in their lives and for others across the globe.

We live in a particular time in history where information is so readily available and judgements can quickly be formed. Literature can also be an anecdote to seeing the world from only your own narrow view. Reading can help broaden our view and help us try to see the world from someone else’s perspective. Adults struggle with this every day. Our students will be better prepared to show understanding toward others because of their daily reading habit that demands their focus and hones their ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes.


Resources discussed in the podcast:

The 5 C’s from Pat Bassett’s NAIS blog

Wednesday Wars