Having sorta-kinda gotten caught up, I was all set to post Shelly Tremaglio’s article For the Love of Reading: A Book-loving Teen’s Perspective as part of tomorrow’s literacy round-up. But an article in today’s Washington Post pushed (more like inspired) me to post today.
Why? Because Nancy Schnog’s op-ed “Readers Left Behind: We’re Teaching Books That Don’t Stack Up” (Outlook Section) (a) echoes some of the same thoughts that Shelly shared with us this summer; and (b) Schnog will be online at noon, Monday 25 August 2008 to discuss it. And I wouldn’t want you to miss that.
You may remember Shelly was our intern. She was a tremendous asset, as she added some much needed fresh thought to how some of our processes (we now use online document sharing) and tools (new cross-system reading level chart). Most importantly, she gave us feedback on some of the books we receive, as well as some insight on the challenges kids face in trying to read. She also shared some of her own frustrations. Shelly is a voracious reader and had been reading all summer, but she put off until the last minute (12 days before the start of school) working on the books on her required reading list. I love The Kite Runner, so why do I need to journal about it and answer a bunch of questions? It sucks all of the enjoyment out of it. Shelly’s thoughts are echoed in Schnog’s op-ed piece. In her piece, Schnog has quotes from students about their experiences in her high school English class. I loved this quip:
“The lesson couldn’t be clearer. Until we do a better job of introducing contemporary culture intou our reading lists, matching books to readers and getting our students to buy in to the whole process, literature teachers will continue to help fuel the reading crisis.”
Take the time to read Schnog’s article. It is a nice starting point (or returning point for those talking about updating reading lists). If you can’t catch the discussion live, you can usually get a ‘transcript’ later.