8
Geographic Reading Materials

BOTH THE STUDENT and the teacher acquire most of the experiences that are basic to the gaining of geographic knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and appreciations through reading various kinds of geographic materials. Reading materials of value in geographic instruction may be classified as follows: (1) geographic informational materials such as textbooks, readers, and both general and specialized references; (2) travel books, scientific reports, magazine and newspaper articles; (3) recreatory materials such as fiction, essays, and poetry. Each one of these has its place in geographic education. The value of varied and wide reading is well expressed in a brief essay by the great polar explorer, Vilhjalmur Stefansson:1


Armchair Exploration

Indeed, I rather think that the armchair explorer--the alert reader whose distant journeys are made exclusively on the wings of the printed word--often sees in better perspective frozen seas or splash through steaming jungles than do the adventurers themselves. A certain kind of Arctic expedition, for instance, will devote months or years to attaining a single geographical dot on the map; during the same period the armchair explorer can, through varied reading, range far and wide over the

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1
Vilhjalmur Stefansson, "Armchair Exploration," Reader's Digest, Vol. 18 ( March 1931).

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