Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Teen Reading Lists

Lynn Thompson writes about high school reading lists for The Seattle Times. In this fascinating article, Thompson interviews teachers and school officials in Seattle about their attempts to liven up required and optional reading lists. The upshot is this:
  • "Largely in response to their more ethnically diverse student bodies, high schools in the area are broadening their literature selections to include more contemporary writers, more women and more minorities.
    Students say the books engage them more immediately than the classics yet still raise timeless questions about existence and meaning."

One teacher interviewed that The Grapes of Wrath is just not working any more in the classroom, and another has dropped Julius Caesar. Also, Dante's Inferno causes too much controversy to be on the required reading list and is instead relegated to the optional list.

I think broadening the reading list, giving more options, is a good idea in the schools. You don't want to be pulling teeth in a discussion of The Grapes of Wrath.

A very interesting article. Thanks to Book*&^% for the link.