Thursday, September 10, 2009
Picking your own assigned reading: the Reading Workshop approach to literature
From the New York Times, The Future of Reading: a new assignment: pick books you like
In a novel approach to teaching literature, educators are allowing kids to read books they like for credit rather than having the entire class read and discuss the same set of books for coursework.
I think this is a great idea. We all have books and authors who we were required to read in school which we now despise. For readers and non-readers alike, having this school experience of reading literature and having had a bad experience of it does noone any favors. The non-readers come to hate reading even more, and the readers suffer silently.
Avid reader though I have always been, never mention Bartleby the Scrivener or The Red Pony to me.
Teaching method does play into this hugely, of course. A really excellent teacher might have made even Bartleby bearable...Nah! I would prefer not to even think of it!
They are talking about middle grade level readers in the article, so do not think high school or college students are what is being discussed. This age is one where kids can just abandon reading for the many other activities available. If you can let them read fun and engaging material, but require the same literary analysis that you would expect if they were reading more traditional texts, you might just hang onto alot more readers.