Skip to Main Content

Tales We Read

Tales We Read aims to create virtual communities for students taking classes remotely promising short mental breaks from coursework through a fool-proof method of distraction.

Tales We Read at Chang- Fall 2020

Does the start of the semester have you overwhelmed and frazzled? We have a quick, guilt-free escape lined up for you! Leave behind your textbooks for an hour and join us at the virtual Chang Science Library to explore some fun activities you can enjoy from the comfort of your room.Based on feedback from the discussions at Summer Tales and Books We Read, our new initiative, Tales We Read combines the benefits of creating virtual communities during difficult times. ENROLL TODAY!

Top Benefits from Tales We Read

If you're already someone who reads for pleasure, you know what that pleasure is like; if you're not, then you'll have to trust us that it's a lot of fun to read when you don't have to worry about a quiz or a paper.

If picking up a work of literature can feel like wandering into a gym full of body builders, think of this as a judgment-free, no-pressure fitness program

Some practical benefits:

  • Becoming a better reader will serve you well in any field of study, and practically any career. 
  • Reading good books also makes you a better writer and speaker, more able to capture and command people's attention with your words.
  • Talking about books you've read can also help you make a good first impression on people, from first dates to job interviews.
  • Being a reader is a quality people admire (as long as you're not too smug about it)!

We've chosen short stories in part because they're short: easy to finish no matter your reading pace and easy to hold in your mind all at once when discussing so that we can all be on the same page, literally and figuratively.  As they say about classic games like chess and poker, these stories take "minutes to learn and a lifetime to master."  

How to Read Well

When people think about discussing literature, often they'll revert back to the way they were taught to read in high school: that every story has a "point" or a "message" that you must identify, and every point has to be connected to a larger argument about What This Story Means. 

In order to be a good discussion participant, you'll have to "unlearn" this way of reading!

Instead, imagine the discussion like you're walking out of a theater with your friends or family who just watched the same movie. 

  • You might ask a question about a part that confused you, to see if everyone else was just as confused. 
  • You might talk about a favorite scene, or a character whose motivations seemed interesting (or unconvincing). 
  • You might just talk about how the movie made you feel, and see if it made other people feel the same way. 

It's a conversation without a particular goal in mind; you just respond to other people's experience while sharing your own and see where it takes you!

A discussion starts with noticing:

  • “I found it hard to be sure why X acts this way.” 
  • “This story jumps around in time a lot.” 
  • “Y seems like a really important moment here.” 

Each of these is an implicit opportunity for a further question: how does the text do this, or why?  In fact, articulating a question can be just as valuable to a discussion as providing an answer.

Quick Links: Book Talk

How Does This Work?

  • Read the short story.
  • Think about the story and how you can relate to it.
  • Share your thoughts in the discussion thread.
  • Read what others posted and respond in the discussion thread.
  • See more in the Canvas course - REGISTER TODAY!

About Tales We Read

The program "Tales We Read" is sponsored by the Chang Science Library of the New Brunswick Libraries and the Office of Academic Programs of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) at Rutgers University. All students enrolled in courses at SEBS are welcome to join any of the available sessions.


© , Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Rutgers is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers websites to or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback form.