Thursday, August 15, 2019

The 5 Types of Questions to ask while reading a book

While reading any book, ask yourself the following questions and ponder the answers.  Bring your answers to our class discussions.


What happened?

We need to be able to explain the basic facts and information to someone else.


Why did it happen?

We need to know why things matter and why the author is writing about them.


What principles were/were not lived?  What was the result?

We need to see what principles were being lived or broken and if they have application to all people, all of the time.


How can I apply these principles to my life?

We need to think about what any of it had to do with us personally.


Where else do I find evidence of these principle?

We rally information from multiple sources and compare and contrast them
to find the truth.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

How to make a Venn Diagram

A Venn diagram uses overlapping circles to illustrate the similarities, differences, and relationships between concepts, ideas, categories, or groups. Similarities between groups are represented in the overlapping portions of the circles, while differences are represented in the non-overlapping portions of the circles.

Another example:

1 Each large group is represented by one of the circles.

2 Each overlapping area represents similarities between two large groups or smaller groups that belong to the two larger groups.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

How and Why to Mark a Book

How to mark a book

Why would we want to mark in our books?

“You know you have to read "between the lines" to get the most out of anything. I want to persuade you to do something equally important in the course of your reading. I want to persuade you to "write between the lines." Unless you do, you are not likely to do the most efficient kind of reading.  I contend, quite bluntly, that marking up a book is not an act of mutilation but of love.  
Why is marking up a book indispensable to reading? First, it keeps you awake. (And I don't mean merely conscious; I mean wide awake.) In the second place, reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends to express itself in words, spoken or written. The marked book is usually the thought-through book. Finally, writing helps you remember the thoughts you had, or the thoughts the author expressed. 
Even if you wrote on a scratch pad, and threw the paper away when you had finished writing, your grasp of the book would be surer. But you don't have to throw the paper away. The margins (top and bottom, as well as side), the end-papers, the very space between the lines, are all available. They aren't sacred. And, best of all, your marks and notes become an integral part of the book and stay there forever. You can pick up the book the following week or year, and there are all your points of agreement, disagreement, doubt, and inquiry. It's like resuming an interrupted conversation with the advantage of being able to pick up where you left off.
And that is exactly what reading a book should be: a conversation between you and the author.” 
--- Mortimer Adler

There are many ways to mark and things to mark as you read a book.  We teach the youth to begin by marking a few specific things:
  • Characters – to track the characters and be able to find physical characteristics and character traits later.  We can go back later and get a full picture of the character.
  • Themes – When we mark the themes, we can find the principles.
  • Quotes – It's always great when you find a great quote to be able to find it again later!
  • Definitions – for better understanding, we can go back and find definitions to words we don't know.
How to read and mark a book:
  • Read with a pencil or pen in hand.  Make marks in the margins.  
  • When you have finished a chapter, go back and annotate the things you marked on the blank pages at the front or back of the book.
It's as simple as that!  And every time you go back to the book after the first reading, you will have your notes and can quickly skim them if you need to, or track more themes and characters every time you read the complete book again!

What if I don't own the book?

Use the folded page method and store your pages in a binder for reference later.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What is a Classic?


Classic as defined by Thomas Jefferson: “…everything that is useful which contributes to fix us in the principles and practice of virtue.”

A Classic:

  • ·         Contains profound ideas on several topics
  • ·         Contains truth
  • ·         Deepens the understanding
  • ·         Can be learned from over and over again- sometimes indefinitely
  • ·         Elevates and enlightens
  • ·         Helps you to understand yourself and the world in new ways
  • ·         Facilitates learning by discovery

Reasons to Read Classics:

  • ·         Because, “we can learn only from our ‘betters.’ We must know who they are and how to learn from them.”
  • ·         To be enlightened rather than informed
  • ·         To be pulled out of the culture and mores of our time and see the bigger picture
  • ·         To come closer to truth because pursuit of truth is the goal of the truly great writers

Components of Classics:

Bent stories portray evil as good, and good as evil. Such stories are meant to enhance the evil tendencies of the reader, such as pornography and many horror books and movies.

Broken stories portray accurately evil as evil and good as good, but evil wins. Something is broken, not right, in need of fixing…Broken stories can be very good for the reader if they motivate him or her to heal them, to fix them.

Whole stories are where good is good, bad is bad and good wins…readers should spend most of their time in such works.

Healing stories can be either Whole or Broken stories where the reader is profoundly moved, changed, or significantly improved by her reading experience.”[1]

·         Natural consequences
·         Natural laws and natural rights
·         How you are inspired

[1] DeMille, A Thomas Jefferson Education

This entire article comes from the ten Boom Institute and can be found online here.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


These presentations are meant to be a final reflection on all of the things you have accomplished this year, how you have grown and improved, how you have served others, how you have been influenced by  and have been able to influence others, what you have learned this year at Vanguard.

This is meant to be a fun, creative project that involves the group.  You will be giving your presentation to the whole group.  You will have 10 minutes. Please try to use 10 minutes…not much shorter and not much longer.

Make this project something that is YOU.  Something that shares with us not only all of the things you have loved this year, but also a part of you that we may remember.

Here are some things to think about and incorporate into your presentation:

  • What you learned in Vanguard.
  • How you grew and changed this year.
  • Things you've done this year.
  • How Vanguard has made you a better person.
  • Your favorite lens and what you learned.
  • Your best Vanguard experience.
  • Your favorite field trip.
  • Your favorite project.
  • Or anything Vanguard related that you would like to include.

Those are the only instructions.  You can do whatever you want but if you would like some ideas, here are a few things you can include in your presentation:

  • pop up book
  • write a song
  • write a poem
  • bring objects to represent what you want to talk about
  • make a scrapbook
  • play an instrument
  • show a skill
  • create and play a game

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Finding Principles

from a handout put together by Becky Edwards

It is worth great effort to organize the truth we gather to simple statements of principle.” 
---Richard G. Scott, Ensign, 1993

The most important [thing] you can to immerse yourselves in the scriptures. Search them diligently... Master the principles.” 
---Ezra T. Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1986

From Elder Richard G. Scott:

• Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances.
• A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and compelling circumstances.

From Audrey Rindlisbacher:

Characteristics of True Principles:

• Foundational idea upon which behavior is based (it’s not an application)
• True for all people, all the time
• Creates greater freedom for the individual and society
• Enlightens the understanding, enlarges the soul, expands your mind, brings new connections and ideas
• Empowers and gives hope
• Increases desire for good—in thoughts, behavior, environment and relationships
• Generates growth, enlivens
• Increases health and wholeness
• Creates win/win situations

Audrey’s Principle Checkpoints:

• God and/or Natural Law
• Your scripture or standard of truth
• Conscience
• Common sense
• Your experience—long term
• The experience of others—long term

Ways to obtain Evidence to Create Faith in and want to Embrace a Principle:

• Spiritual experience
• Study & experience of others
• Watching the results from living the principle (exercising consistently made that group of people fit and thin)

From John Hilton III 
(From Please Pass the Scriptures: From Reading to Feasting, chapters 9-10)

Principles can be easier to find and apply when you write them in an “If ....then” statements.
• Rewriting principles in your own words helps you find, remember, and apply them. A great place to  write principles you find is in the margin of your scriptures or other books.
• If you ask “What is the author trying to teach?” it can help you find principles.

Excerpt from a letter I (Sis. Cloward) sent to my missionary son, Kaiden, about principles:

"I've been watching videos online from the ten Boom institute and teaching the Vanguard youth about how to read and mark a book to get the most out of it and how to find principles in what you're reading.  It's really powerful!  As you're reading something you'll come across principles that the characters live their life by.  Sometimes they are true principles, sometimes they are false.  So like Javert in Les Mis lives his life based on the principle that "once someone is a criminal, they will always be a criminal and can't change".  That is a false principle.  Or from Jane Eyre, "doing the right thing by God is always the right thing to do even if society and circumstance allow doing the wrong thing".  That is a true principle.  How do we know it's a true principle?  It's a natural law, it a law from God, and it's true at all times for all people.  What was true for Jane Eyre would also be true for the ancient Egyptians as well as for for us in our day.  Make sense?  And as we look for principles in the things that we read, we grow and become better for it and have principles from which to live our own lives.  

So I've been marking principles in my scriptures.  Of course I don't have to evaluate them as true or false, they are always true.  But it's really powerful to find principles and then rewrite them so that they apply, ("liken the scriptures..".).  And it helps to write the principles in a "If...then..." format.  "If I do something, then something else will happen."    For example: "If I eat healthy foods, then my body will be healthy."  That is the principle, the application is then how people choose to live that principle.  So for the food principle, some applications could be not eating meat, or not eating dairy, or not eating gluten.  The application is different for all people, but the principle is the same for all people.  Another example would be the principle "parents are responsible for the education of their children".  Applications of that would be home school, public school, private school, charter school, trade school, etc.  Whatever they, the parents feel is the best way for their own children to be educated.  So while the applications are different for everyone, the true principle is the same.  Got it?  Clear as mud?  :)

Here's an example of principles in the scriptures...

In Helaman 3:27 we read: "Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name."  So we can rewrite the principle to be "If I call upon God's name with sincerity of heart, the Lord will be merciful to me."


 Helaman 3:28 "Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God." would be "If I believe on the name of Jesus Christ, the gate of heaven will be open to me."

Make sense?  So I decided to try it with my Patriarchal Blessing.  Wow!  Amazing.  I made a copy and have marked it all up.  It's amazing to see patterns and words that show up numerous times.  My patriarchal blessing is only 1 and 1/4 pages long.  So super short, but I found 12 principles in it!  

Anyways, it's so powerful to look for principles!  This would work with anything.  Scriptures, conference talks, articles, books... anything."

Here is a video from the ten Boom Institute on finding principle in what we read:

How to do an ACROSTIC

An acrostic consists of a word that is written vertically.  A word, short phrase, or sentence is then written horizontally next to each vertical letter.  The word, phrase, or sentence written horizontally should begin with the letter it is written next to and must describe the vertical word.