What Horror Flicks Reveal About Literature

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I'm not a fan of the horror genre. I find horror films tend to center somewhere between the lame and the ludicrous. And I'm not fond of gore. But the good thrillers have one thing in common: They let your mind do the work. They don't show you the moment. They let you experience that in your head. And scenes are far more terrifying for it.

I was reminded of this phenomenon when I read books vs 'visuals' (one of today's Other Posts of Note): "Students are appallingly jaded when it comes to visuals... What does haunt them is in the books."

Granted, if your kid spends less than the average of 30 hours a week in front of the tube, visuals may still pack a punch. But even if seeing something can give you a nightmare, I still contend that great literature sticks better. Television, I've been told, is a passive activity. Reading--and, I'm guessing, being read to--requires much more of your mind. You are more invested because your mind does the work.

The Worlds Inside Books

Don't get me wrong: I love movies. But there's something fantastic about using books to learn. This powerful advantage is at the heart of Sonlight's approach to education... a model that has taken the homeschooling world by storm. Engaging books are the foundation of literature-based homeschool curriculum.

Horror movies are often ridiculous, but they remind us that letting our minds take part in the creation of a moment puts us there in ways pictures do not.

So, as you look toward the summer and finish out this school year, remember that literature sticks.

What moments have recently been stuck in your mind since reading about them?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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