While reading the articles for YA Lit, I wondered if I might have read more classics if I’d been given my choice of books in high school? Why did I have to read The Pearl and Lord of the Flies? I hated them and got ZERO from them! Was it the length? No one in my high school class would have read The Iliad willingly, I guarantee it!
Instead of reading The Red Pony, perhaps I would have grabbed Pride and Prejudice with a little encouragement from my English teacher. (Or not.) My choice reading was romantic love stories as a teenager. Pride and Prejudice is a great love story – the antagonistic relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy reminds me of Hermoine and Ron in the Harry Potter series, or Princess Leia and Hans Solo in Star Wars! If my teacher had made such a comparison, I would have picked Pride and Prejudice up in a hot second!
I have yet to read Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, To Kill a Mockingbird or Anne of Green Gables! How sad is that? Every time my husband brings up a classic that I haven’t seen, he’s so surprised that I’ve never read it! Well, who hasn’t heard of Moby Dick, but I haven’t actually read it!
In the article, Aim Higher: A Case for Choice Reading and a Whole Lot More in AP English, Amy Rasmussen tells us that, “students in 9 and 10 grade preAP classes read 3-5 whole class texts of a complex nature. And students need to read 15-20 books a year to grow as readers.” Wow! I don’t know any students that brag about how many books they read per year, much less complex texts!
While reading Curing the Reading GERM by Jim Bailey, I came up with an idea – probably nothing new, but of course, new to me – daily book commercials (remember that idea from another article?) but given by the students! No one knows how to promote a book to teenagers better than another hyped teenager! I’ll be teaching 5-6 different classes, so we won’t get to read for 20 minutes per day in class, but I can always use a good recommendation for reading material! I wonder how many books my students could read in a year?