Sunday, August 30, 2009

Nothing Like "A Good Book"

The debate is on. School districts in New York and Georgia are thinking of allowing students to choose the books they read in class. On one hand I agree with the argument that kids would never read anything but "Harry Potter" if allowed to, so I can see where those who are against the plan are coming from.

On the other hand, as a person who loves to read, I tend to shy away from the books I have no interest in, so I can see the benefit of having kids pick their own reading materials. Unfortunately, when I was a kid, the books I tried to avoid were the "Great Classics," yet I believe those were the very books that developed my reading comprehension skills, which prepared me for college.

I do think that whatever the material, reading has to be made fun for kids and that is no easy task when teachers are competing with the internet, dvd's, I-phones and a myriad of other technological gadgets that occupy their time. Sadly, we are raising a generation who will never understand the joy of cracking open a new book with that "fresh" smell, (although, I must admit I'm now guilty of reading on my Sony Reader) and who will never value the experience of getting lost in someone's beautifully written words. For me reading is the reason I like to write.

As a writer, it's a bit scary to put your heart and soul into a piece with the realization that many people don't read anymore.

I have many friends who are or who have been school teachers and I would love their input on whether kids should be allowed to choose their own books for class. For me, I think allowing some student choice, mixed with a few classics would work best. What do you think?


  1. Hi Teri,

    I think having students choose their own books is wonderful, but it is the responsibility of teachers to know about all of the great literature, besides the classics, that is availbale to them. When I taught middle school, I read everything and then brought copies of the best books into the room (in class library) so they could choose from them.
    I believe it is a shame to bore children with books. There are too many excellent ones, and I pride myself on having raised many bookworms by exposing them to fantastic children's literature. My point is - let them choose from the extensive choices educators provide for them.

  2. Thanks for reading. Yes, kids should never be bored with reading. I've loved to read since I was a little kid, and we used to have competitions at my school to see who could read the most books. I finished second one summer when I read 43. It was such fun to read one book right after another. I wish I had time to do that now.