Friday, December 07, 2012

Where is AOW on this

The new reading list has taken classics out of the curriculum in favor of non fiction reading. It is important to convey the love of reading and To Kill A Mockingbird is precisely the type of book that imparts a love of the written word.

My daughter is an example of the new way that a love of reading gets imparted. Her grades in reading were always below grade level. She learned how to read by playing different types of video games that have extensive reading passages. The solution books are written on a reading level above grade level..

It is very important to impart a love of the written word early, The challenge has always been to hold the students attention. Assigning uninteresting non fiction tests in the guise of preparing students for work is exactly the wrong remedy.

If anything modern engaging classics need additional emphasis.


Ducky's here said...

Assigning uninteresting non fiction ...

Since you don't state what non fiction was on the reading list I assume you consider all non fiction "uninteresting".

This may give you insight into why you may not be taken seriously at times.

beakerkin said...

Wrong again duncy. Students read non fiction in History and science classes. They read it in other classes as well. There is no need for
boring non fiction in upper levels.

Always On Watch said...

I've been keeping up with developments related to Common Core State Standards. In fact, I discussed this matter earlier this week with my homeschool group.

Common Core Standards Web Site

In my view, the shift from fiction to nonfiction is a HUGE mistake!

But here's the thing....The reading changes are supposed to apply across the curriculum -- not just apply to the English departments. But the science, social studies, and math departments don't want to incorporate the nonfiction recommendations, which include The Federalist Papers and Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, just to name two of the books.

The reading of fiction clearly does help students to develop an interest in reading itself. Furthermore, it is through reading fiction that we discuss themes, character, and motivation.

To drop To Kill a Mockingbird from core reading is a travesty! I could say the same about numerous other novels. This school term, my class had an incredible discussion on The Scarlet Letter and The Merchant of Venice (I know that you aren't fond of those works, Beak, but the students really got into the discussions). We've had similar discussions of the poem "Enoch Arden" and Of Mice and Men.

Next up this school term: Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

I do favor the reading of nonfiction, too, of course. But not so much in English courses.

Always On Watch said...

BTW, the best English-course discussion on nonfiction that we've ever had: John Gunther's Death Be Not Proud. Damn near had a firefight of a discussion as students squared off on that one!

Ducky's here said...


Your talking about everything from Henry Adams to George Orwell to Virginia Wolf.

In what class would they read:

The Education of Henry Adams?
A Room of One's Own?
Homage to Catalonia?

I'm not sure what grade you are considering here but try a few more:

Maus I : A Survivor's Tale

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

A Moveable Feast

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Notes of a Native Son

The Other America

Out of Africa

... you get the idea. Some may be reading in history classes but if you think that list is boring then your lack of imagination is showing.
It's also a list of very talented writers with individual styles.

beakerkin said...

AOW English class should be reserved for fiction. It should impart a love of reading. Let the other classes handle non fiction.

Always On Watch said...

The reason that I've had to incorporate some nonfiction is that neither history teachers or students' parent seem to understand that teaching courses should always involve some reading in addition to the textbook. This trend has been going on for some years -- all across the education spectrum (public schools, private schools, and homeschool).

I worry that we are becoming a nation of non-readers!

Ducky's here said...

You must accept that the essay is an important part of high school English, AOW.

I remember Addison and Steele in junior English. Kind of blurs the boundary between fiction and non fiction.

Always On Watch said...

Including the essay is certainly something that I do in my English courses -- essays written by famous authors and essays written by the students themselves. Of course, extensive study of nonfiction can be more agenda driven and propagandize more.

The in-depth study of fiction is critically important as well -- as I explained above.

Think of it this way: the study of great films should include both documentaries and non-documentaries, with emphasis on the latter.