Sunday, May 3, 2009

PPS summer reading list light on classics

From today's PG:


Questioner said...

This list is described as a list of recommended books. But isn't there also separate required reading, at least for some grades/some programs, that might include classics?

PPSparent said...

Honestly, I can't believe that this is the *one* thing that the PG would write a vaguely critical article about in the midst of all their articles glorifying everything else!

It's a list of books kids might ENJOY reading over the summer and I have no problem with that. Kids that like to read and do read, even if it's not "literature," are going to be much better prepared to attack the classics in a classroom, with a teacher.

Summer reading should be fun reading! If an elementary kid read all the Calvin and Hobbes collections over the summer, I'd be happy!

One finding is that low-income kids are greatly lacking in the background knowledge that middle and upper class kids have. Reading any of the books mentioned will increase their store of just general, basic, how the world works knowledge, which can only help them in the classroom.

fixit said...

Ahhhh, if only we still had bookmobiles!! I agree wholeheartedly, summer reading should be for enjoyment first and there will be plenty of time for headier reading during the school year. I am not sure if Joe of the PG meant to sound critical, I took it merely as an observation that the classics are not represented on the list. Books are great, but don't hesitate to start off with a good magazine or THE NEWSPAPER. I often think I'd like to do an experiment where kids who read Norman, O'Neill, Kalson, etc compare their PSSA results or SAT results against other 11th graders who do not read those columnists. My big push now is to just get my middle schooler to read the sports page on a daily basis, and not just scores and standings. I don't follow everything, but over the past few years I have noticed that the PG has made a commitment to do their part through TEEN VOICES and the articles/reviews and features geared at kids carried in the daily magazine section. There is a lot of good news.

Low-income kids do have a disadvantage in the less than easy access to books over the summer, particularly the most popular current fiction. The lesson to be learned there is to return your library books as soon as possible over the summer. And live by "read a good book and pass it on!"

fixit said...

I amazes me how clueless our kids are about some things. Why can't they just realize how much reading can prevent them from doing mindless chores. Dishes need done, dog needs walked, table needs cleared, trash has to get to the curb. As soon as a parent sees a kid reading chances are some adult steps up to do the mindless chore. THEN, if a kid mentions something interesting in the book and actually wants to discuss it with the adult, you can bet the adult starts coming up with ways to reward these amazing actions. Chances are the adult gets so excited over having created a reader it prevents her from falling asleep at night. What a shame our kids do not enjoy these mind games enough to read more.