Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Where have all the $.15 words gone?

Posted by lpearle on 18 June 2007

They’ve gone the way of the “cents” sign on your keyboard. (þ: Maude)

So, what are the implications for schools and libraries? Are we turning into the Japanese, who have problems reading texts published years ago because the vocabulary isn’t there? I’ve already noticed that many of my Middle School students will not look at books like Anne of Green Gables or Little Women or Hans Brinker because they’re “too difficult” (at an age well past that when I was reading those books). I know English teachers that won’t touch Huck Finn or Wuthering Heights because of the use of “accent writing”.

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2 Responses to “Where have all the $.15 words gone?”

  1. Aravis said

    I can’t imagine not reading Anne of Green Gables, Little Women or Huck Finn! The old terminology isn’t that hard.I feel like the old Professor from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: What are they teaching them at these schools?

  2. camillofan said

    I find that my own sons– Number Two, in particular– have trouble with some of the classics because they’re not willing to “read around” a word they don’t understand, in hopes of making sense of it in retrospect. I’m not sure if this fear/laziness is typical of kids that age, or whether it’s a personal thing, and I’m also not sure whether to partially blame the educational system. But I have let the boys know that they rob themselves of a lot of potential enjoyment this way. Gosh, I still read around unfamiliar words or usages! And when I was an adolescent, I probably waded through whole “grown up” books by reading around as much as a quarter of the content. It only spurred me to learn more so I could return to the tough tomes later.

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