Monday, July 07, 2008

Rant Ahoy!

Sarah over at the Reading Zone has published a scathing rant about schools, summer reading lists, and the fact that they haven't changed in decades. (The schools or the lists.)

Amen! I love Maniac Magee, but for God's sake, school, it's been on your list for the past ten years. Switch it out! Get a little crazy! Do a little dance!

And pack away the tissues. It's summer. Not every book has to deal with Deep Themes like Death and War and the unbearable woe of existence. You'd be surprised how many humorous novels also have Deep Themes.

To all this, I'd like to add, "Schools, when you put at the bottom of the paper, 'Check the public library for these titles,' how about a leeetle heads-up to that self-same public library? Just a teeny one?" I'm reduced to snatching the lists from bewildered seventh-graders' hands, dashing away to make a quick copy, and giving my library supplier a call begging them to rush me several copies of each title, because my itty-bitty library is responsible for basically an entire school district.

Thanks to a number of bloggers for the link.


Jen Robinson said...

This whole thing has really touched quite a nerve, hasn't it? I love "Get a little crazy! Do a little dance!"

Amanda Villagómez said...

I am glad that you referenced that blog; it was fun to read. I don't see why there needs to be a summer reading list at all. It should just be about kids reading whatever motivates them.

Bibliovore said...

Hey Milly

I actually understand why teachers might want their kids all reading some of the same books over the summer. This way, they can start the year off with discussions or projects relating to the books they (should have) read, jumping right in with the concepts and expectations for the class as opposed to waiting for everyone to read the first book. (Recovering English major, remember. I loved English class in school.)

I totally agree that kids should be allowed--nay, encouraged--to read books that motivate and interest them, which is why there should be greater variety in tone and topic. Have you ever seen an elementary or middle school reading list with some really great nonfic on it? I haven't.

My greatest beef is with the books they so often pick and the way they never bring the public libraries in on it, even though that's where so many of the kids are going to go to get the books.


Kelly Conn said...

Right on, Maureen. Older award winners should be considered advanced reading because of their outdated language. I used to read all of them, but they had no bearing on my life and I eventually grew to dislike fiction for that reason. But as I failed to realize then, there are really great books being published right now (and you cover so many of them). In my city, we have a Children's Roundtable including local principals and librarians and we discuss reading quite a bit. I recommend a new title or two at each meeting. Can you make it in to any staff meetings with a small stack of recommended books? West Region has been doing a project that we'll present at the next YA Meet and Greet that you may like.