Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Isn’t the point to encourage reading?

Posted by lpearle on 8 February 2005

The Reading Experience mentions yet another group that thinks it can come up with a “better” list of classics our students should read (which they’re calling “higher quality literature assignments”). The Little Professor responds, asking some of the questions I asked:

  • Has anyone associated with this group ever tried to teach pre-twentieth century literature to pre-college students–or, for that matter, to college students?
  • Has anyone associated with this group actually paid attention to the contents of the books on their list?

Looking at the 6th grade and up list is just as interesting. I doubt very many of the 6th graders I know would respond well to Gulliver’s Travels, Westward Ho! or Kon Tiki. The language/style and length alone will keep them away (yes, Harry Potter‘s long, but it’s written in “modern” language – there’s no struggle for them to understand it).

Of course, the list that they’re trying to replace is interesting. Any district that thinks that Princess Diaries is appropriate for 10th grade just isn’t thinking!


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