Every Wednesday YA Highway ask a question Road Trip Wednesday which I was turned onto by reading a fellow writers blog Unavoidable Awkwardness by Laurie Dennison. So I’m going to start taking part as often as I can because it’s just so much fun.
In high school, teens are made to read the classics - Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Bronte, Dickens - but there are a lot of books out there never taught in schools. So if you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?
Okay so I don’t have a ton of time before I finish packing up the baked goods and head to meet friends but had to respond to this weeks question. First let me say that my school reading experience was different than most it seems. Sure we read Romeo & Juliet, sections of The Iliad, The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter, and numerous others but not nearly as many as some others in different areas I’ve discovered. I don’t know the reasoning but I turned out okay and my love for reading did not start there I can say that.
What would I change? I would keep some of the classics that have great lessons about different areas, for instance I love mythology. I don’t care for the old English, I know most kids in school didn’t but it literally gave me a headache and is one of the reasons I never read The Scarlet Letter, but I passed every one of my tests with flying colors. No I didn’t watch a movie, I simply found really good chapter notes online that broke the chapter down into 2-3 pages in normal everyday speak for me. Even those notes didn’t make me interested in the book.
That being said I know no matter what kids are going to use online notes and not read it’s unavoidable. But I think mixing books in there that they can relate too but also have great depth like The Hunger Games trilogy or The Maze Runner trilogy you can teach about the developing issues in society. I find that people relate better when they know the rules. Reading about ‘old times’ they don’t really understand why people don’t just ‘do this’ or ‘do that’. The ways people would react to that issue today has changed and the characters reasoning might no longer make sense. A woman had an affair and the town shunned her…today pop culture is littered with cheating spouses some even claiming sex addiction.
Overall I think the stories should be a mix or old and new but keep relevant to the world around them and if not then given better context. I wish I could think of more books that have a great meaning and would be great for teaching but at the moment I am at a loss. I think the main goal for reading in school is to educate, but also to inspire students to want to read. Adding things they will enjoy and be eager to read I think would benefit everyone. Well that is my opinion now off to finish getting ready.