"Reading furnishes us only with the materials of knowledge," said John Locke; "it is thinking that makes what we read ours."
'In order to get the most out of books, the reader must be a thinker. The mere acquisition of facts is not the acquisition of power. To fill the mind with knowledge that can not be made available is like filling our houses with furniture and bric-a-brac until we have no room to move about.
'If you wish to become intellectually strong, after reading with the closest attention, form this habit: frequently close your book and sit and think, or stand and walk and think--but think, contemplate, reflect. Turn what you have read over and over in your mind.
'Many people have an idea that if they keep reading everlastingly, if they always have a book in their hands at every leisure moment, they will, of necessity, become full-rounded and well-educated.
'But they might just as well expect to become athletes by eating at every opportunity. It is even more necessary to think than to read. Thinking, contemplating, what we have read, is what digestion and assimilation are to food.
'Some of the biggest fools I know are always cramming themselves with knowledge. But they never think. When they get a few minutes' leisure they grab a book and go to reading. In other words, they are always eating intellectually, but never digesting their knowledge or assimilating it.'
By every reader Let Milton's words be borne in mind:
"Who reads Incessantly, and to his reading brings not A spirit and judgment equal or superior... Uncertain and unsettled still remains, Deep versed in books and shallow in himself..."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning says: "We err by reading too much, and out of proportion to what we think. I should be wise, I am persuaded, if I had not read half as much..."
"It is a grand thing to read a good book--it is a grander thing to live a good life."
(From Pushing to the Front by Orisen Swett Marden)
So for all of you who think that I am suggesting you read books all day long, not at all! A big par of educating the heart well is to find that balance--daily feeding your heart, but allowing plenty of time for digestion. Your children need that 'digestion' time, as well. And on the outside, it may appear as play or even doing 'nothing' or having a conversation. Notebooking is part of that digestion process, as well.