Witnessing teachers taking books out of students’ hands makes my blood boil. It’s definitely a button that will get a response when you push it, so hands off their choice!
The library is a place for children to choose freely. Period. End of statement. If they ask for guidance, ok.
I’m so grateful that no one attempted to tell me that Black Beauty was too hard in first grade or that Eight Cousins was too old-fashioned for second grade. Or that I should stop reading series books in third grade because they were too easy for me. I loved Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. Who cares if I was capable of reading Wuthering Heights then? I didn’t enjoy reading it until I went back as a teenager to re-read it.
Doctor’s offices had big fat thick Biblical books for us to read and no one interrogated us as to whether we were comprehending every word for a test. They let me flip the pages and read the short stories that I wanted to. As long as I wasn’t asking them what every other word meant, they left me to read at will. I’ll never forget the morning I asked my parents what insest was. They flew out of bed to see what horrible book I was reading and it was the Bible.
The next time you are tempted to yank a book out of a child’s hands because it doesn’t serve your assignment remember that MY assignment is free choice and life-long reading. I will do battle with you to allow children to read the books they want.
This week I marched back to class with a child who had tearfully returned his non-fiction book because the teacher wanted him to read an easier 1.6 level picture book. He wanted the 2.1 level nonfiction book on crickets because he had caught one.
My pointy chin came up as I informed his teacher that he would be reading an EXTRA book this week so he could read one for fun. If he lost it, I’d take responsibility. The child returned the book 2 days later with a bookmark for me showing the different parts of a cricket which he had labored over drawing for me. Which book benefitted him most?
I rest my vent.