May 15, 2006

A well-balanced literature list

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:43 pm by mrsmauck

Onyx’s comment on my reading list post has gotten me to thinking…Kids need a well-balanced diet of literature: not all veggies you have to force down their throats (I’m thinking Dickens), or meaty classic authors like Shakespeare or Steinbeck–these are necessary, but what about the books that the kids actually relish? Don’t get me wrong; Shakespeare and Steinbeck are great main courses, but what about melt-in-your-mouth appetizers and delicious desserts? (Okay, I’m stopping with this food metaphor now…this is getting ridiculous.) My mom was just telling me about a man she knew who could barely read in high school, and then he got really into OU sports after he graduated, and started reading all the magazine articles he could get his hands on about the Sooners. Yes, most magazine articles are written at about an eighth-grade reading level, but he was reading for pleasure! I’m not saying we should hand out glamour and sports magazines for the kids to read; we just need some YA novels that really speak to the kids’ lives, that are engrossing, and that will help them enjoy reading. Thanks Onyx!

A side note on reading: I’ve finished The Da Vinci Code in preparation for the film’s release this weekend, so I’ll be going back to Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, which is not on the list below, but I saw a cheap paperback copy at Wal-Mart, and picked it up. So far, I haven’t seen much action, but Edna’s perspective is a perfect picture of what can happen to a bored female mind: pointless fantasies and insidpid crushes. Also, her prose is so much like poetry! I don’t think any high school male would enjoy this book, but I’m enjoying it so far.



  1. Courtney said,

    I have never had my college prep class (most of whom are below-grade level readers) so engaged as when I copied a Time article, way above their reading level, on all the immigration stuff going on, because it was something they really cared about.

    And I totally agree with Onyx- never teach something you don’t LOVE! I recommend reading The First Part Last and The House of the Scorpion- I’m thinking of teaching it next year and covering many of the same things one might with Animal Farm.

  2. Onyx said,

    Wow! I feel flattered. Truthfully some of the best writing out there now is young adult. Every year I have the kids turn in a list of 5-10 books they would recommend, then I make a list of those for the students to have for summer reading. I also list which ones are part of our computer reading program. I choose a lot of my summer reads from what they have recommended, and in the fall I have a list of tests for the librarian to buy to add to the computer program. Think about some of your favorite books, usually they were recommended by somebody. Hang in there you are going to be a GREAT teacher. ( I’m an OSU grad myself.)

  3. Kim said,

    Thanks so much, courtney and onyx! Your advice makes me so much more excited about teaching!

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