Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Connecting through Reading

Alpine hotshots reading
(Photo credit: Alpine IHC chose Extreme Ownership as their crew book for 2016)
You have heard us say, "Leaders are readers...and writers." We have heard many of you say, "I don't like to read." or "I don't have time to read."

We challenge you take a moment to watch "How and Why We Read" and then read on.


As John Green states in the video, "writing and the ability to read it are markers of civilization." Long before the advent of motion pictures and virtual reality, books provided a means for us to experience worlds other than our own. Unlike watching a movie, readers form their own images of characters and their experiences. Reading invokes empathy, allowing us to "feel" what it is like to be somewhere or someone else.

Firefighter with books in his personal work library
(Sean Kibbe holding books from the 2016 Reading Challenge; photo credit: Washington DNR)
The Professional Reading Program is cornerstone of the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program and a common topic during Leadership Subcommittee meetings. Great effort is taken by the PRP coordinator to provide books and publications that allow our culture to grow and communicate.

"How and Why We Read" Video Highlights
  • We privilege reading and writing because they allow us to communicate directly and transparently with people who live very far away from us.
  • Stories are about communication.
  • Good writing is an outgrowth of the urge to use language to communicate complex ideas and experiences between people.
  • Books exists for the benefit of readers.
  • Reading is always an act of empathy.
  • Readers have power in the conversation.
  • Reading connects us together.
Open book
(Photo credit: Siri Stafford/Thinkstock)
Green's Perspective on Reading Critically

John Green contends that by understanding language you will:
  • Have a fuller understanding of lives other than your own, which
  • Will help you be more empathetic, thereby
  • Giving you the linguistic tools to share your own story with more precision.
[Source: How and Why We Read, CrashCourse]

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging a Little Deeper

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