I am paraphrasing from a friend’s Facebook wall her question:
“How would a teen-age boy who is going to work with his hands ever use Literature of England in his work?”
The age-old “How am I going to use this in real life?” question. How would you answer it?
Well I have to say that as a teacher I am constantly being asked this question. It doesn't matter if it is for Math, Science, Social Studies or Language. I like to try to come up with real concrete examples for my students. I used to hate getting the "You just will. Now sit down and get to work" answer.
When it comes to reading/literature I do feel like you can teach so many lessons from books. As a substitute teacher I can teach anywhere from kindergarten to grade 6 but I have also taught grade 7 and 8 as well. I have to say that I have seen children's picture books used in the higher grades. They often have excellent character education hidden in their pages.
Take for example Madonna's book Mr Peabody's Apples. This book teaches a valueable lesson on gossip and how destructive it can be. This is good for all ages. I know that I have been caught up with gossip even at my age.
The same can be said not only for children's books but also for Middle Grade, Young Adult or Adult books. While some books are what I like to call mind candy there are others that really make you think about things in a different way. It can make you feel greatful for the life you may take for granted. It may make you come to terms with something major such as depression, death or sickness. At the very least you can build your vocabulary while reading. While reading a particularly long book you may even learn the value of patience. Not to mention there are many books out there that aren't fictional and therefore you may learn how to do something new with the help of a book or you may be able to learn about some new scientific process.
All this to say that reading and literature are important to personal growth and it does apply to the real world in so many ways.