Did anyone else notice this article on reading in school in the Post. There is something that I find so upsetting in the increasing trend of keeping knowledge from kids. Kids are exposed to so many horrible things in the news, in media, in movies, so what is gained by keeping them from books that may actually help their growth?
“And you hear this about very gifted kids,” [Teri S. Lesesne, a professor of young adult and children’s literature at Sam Houston State University in Texas] said. “If there is anything I try to get across to parents, it is that of course your kid is gifted, but that doesn’t mean he or she is ready for certain pieces of literature. It does mean they can get more out of the literature that is developmentally appropriate.”
Ok, I realize that children can’t handle the same information that adults have learned to handle, I took developmental psychology at SLC. Yet this experts thinking I find completely counterintuitive. As I see it there are three goals when giving a child a book: first, to get them interested in reading. second, to teach something (facts, history, science, literature). and third, to help them grow. Reading shouldn’t be about only reinforcing what they already know and what they already have experienced. Reading should be helping to teach children how to be resilient. In books you can experience things that otherwise you never would, good and bad. That practice experience in your head will help later in life when faced with new situations.
Lesesne said she thinks “Catcher in the Rye” is best suited for college, as are “The Scarlet Letter,” “Beowulf” and other classics with canonical status in high schools.
When I read the above quote my jaw dropped. Reading “Catcher in the Rye” in high school is such a different experience than in college. In high school you are Holden Caufield, you relate completely. In college, hopefully, you are in many ways over that angst. Your growth, caused in part by the realization that you are not the only one feeling that way. And how do you know that? From reading books such as “Catcher” of course. And “Scarlet Letter?” Why is that not appropriate for high school? Because it deals with sexual desire? Like that is something high school kids know nothing about. And “Beowulf” because we don’t want them to know that violence goes way way back? I mean come on!
Ok, the more I write now the more upset I get. I need something to calm me down. Maybe a good book… Or maybe this will help…