Friday, September 13, 2013

Are Schools Anti-Reading?

I have Barbara to thank for pointing out "School is no Place for Readers." It's a lengthy post on how schools push reading fairs and reading logs, but in reality discourge kids from digging deeply into books. Here's a sample quote:

School libraries are filled with computers and the shelves are filled with dreck based on video games, cartoons and movies. It is said that this is the only way to tempt children away from screen to page, but these book impostors are created to foster and capitalize on an appetite for a product. is it likely that "Barbie in a Mermaid Tale," printed out as sixteen pages of dull and disjointed summary, will increase the odds of the child reading Alice in Wonderland or Swallows and Amazons? Whatever the market may cast before consumers, school should not be its enthusiastic accomplice in corrupting the taste and abilities of the young. We must know these things for what they are. The Pokemon Character Guide is not a book, it is a toy. Children ought to have toys, but they should also have books.

The complete article offers lots to ponder.


Susanna said...

I served as a reading tutor in my school district and the teacher who was in charge of that program told our group of tutors that the emphasis is,in our township at least, on reading non-fiction. What we read with the children (Grades 1-4) were mostly short articles about various subjects in designed-for-schools publications. This type of reading supposedly aids children in scoring higher on those oh so important standardized tests. My oldest daughter, who just graduated this past June, was in the International Baccalaureate program and read a wide variety of pretty good stuff. My younger daughter, now a junior, gets an assignment to read what I would call literature occasionally, but I don't think this happens enough to instill any sort of love of reading.

Sally said...

This is so depressing and I suspect true of most Western countries. I don't have a school age child and am not in touch with the education system here (in the US). But have determined to take responsibility for my daughter's introduction to books. I'm just not sure that she will get exposure to all the "greats" if I left it up to the school system. Though I might be wrong - and I hope I am!

Heather said...

I read that article as well and if I recall correctly, she is from Ontario, our current province. And while I have never had to deal personally with the public school system here since we homeschool, I have friends in our church who routinely tell me how poor the school libraries are and the books that the teachers want to buy are junk. One of them, whose children go on a part time basis, said that they get a whole period for playing on a tablet, which apparently is at least an hour of their school day. I have had a friend who is a veteran school teacher stand chatting at my front door and tell me, as his 10 year old sat at our feet reading some modern rendering dealing with gods and goddesses that there are "a lot better books now for kids than years ago". It took a lot for me to not challenge him and scoff outwardly at his ignorant beliefs, but I didn't want to hurt his daughter's feelings. Can you imagine him saying that? Just crazy. And I used to work in the kid's department at B&N back in the late 90s and early 2000s and there was already so much garbage taking up shelf space, its' only become worse, not better! Okay, sorry to go off, but the article was very good.