1.13.2008

Adolescent LitBlog 1

Crowe, Chris. "Young Adult Literature: Rescuing Reluctant Readers." English Journal 88.5 (May 1995): 113-16.
In speaking of his son, Jonathan (a self-described "reluctant reader," Chris Crowe writes, "…I know that, unfortunately, he's not all that unusual.…" (114). That is, Jonathan, who is very intelligent and academically successful in all his classes, classifies himself among those who stereotypically are not so educationally adept, it makes sense that those "others," the not-so-smarts, wouldn't like to read. They come from this background or another, they are unfortunates for one cause or this other one. But not the smarties, right? They will love to read because they know how to read. And please, this Jonathan kid, he's Chris Crowe's son, for goodness' sake. Of all kids in his class, his whole school for that matter, Jonathan will love to read. But such is not the case. What does this say, then, about our methodology when it comes to exposing our kids to literature? But how rich an article is Crowe's: Jonathan gives us these awesome bits of advice that all teachers should keep in mind when assigning a book to read, among them number 10: "Don't decide what students have to read. Let them choose for themselves" (115).

Crowe, Chris. "Young Adult Literature: Dear Teachers: Please Help My Kids Become Readers." English Journal 89.1 (Sept. 1999): 139-42.

I love that Crowe encourages us "to work consciously to help my become readers" (139, italics mine). In other words, if our students are to fall truly head over heels in love with reading, we teachers cannot leave anything to chance. On the surface of our class, everything must appear seamless, smooth; I must never let my students see me sweat; beneath the surface, though, we must invest our blood, sweat, and tears so that our students get the impression that everything is cool with me, with the class, with the reading, and therefore with their reading in class and out. Now, this doesn't mean I over-plan; that will come through, and the kids will smell it on me if I do. But I can't rely on some kind of magic dust that will transform my alliterates, non-, and reluctant readers into honest-to-goodness readers in love with the act of reading. Oh, would that this dust existed, but it doesn't. Instead, we work at getting it done, day in, day out, year after year. It's that easy. It's that hard.

1 comment:

max said...

Hi,

I also grew up as a reluctant reader, now I write action-adventures & mysteries especially for boys 8 and up. My web site is at http://www.maxbooks.9k.com and my Books for Boys blog is at http://booksandboys.blogspot.com

Thank you,

Max Elliot Anderson