Sunday, April 17, 2011

Teens and reading

Or more appropriately labeled, their lack of it.

Just yesterday, when I was at a friend’s house, her mom presented her with two books she randomly bought for her. Her mom thinks she should read more.

I am insanely jealous.

If my mother thought I needed to read more, I would explode with literary happiness. But no, my mother thinks I need clothes. When I mention that I have plenty, she reminds me that three fourths of my closet is composed of my sister’s hand-me-downs. I have no problem with this. Picture a stereotypical (brunette), fashion-loving cheerleader. This is my big sister. Yeah, my sister knows her fashion.

My intense jealousy isn’t the main point. The main point is that my friend doesn’t like reading. These are the books she got:

• The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (I previously showed it to her, she didn’t like it)

• A random MG (for someone who doesn’t read much, this is very bad.)

I think her mom rules for going to a bookstore and getting books. My friend would never have. At the same time, she would not have picked those books.

(I’m talking from experience here) I know Tom Sawyer is a classic. My language arts class had to read it. Most of them hated it. I know teachers want to “expand our vocabulary”/ “give us literary wisdom”. To be honest, I don’t know how reading Tom Sawyer can accomplish that.

I think I’ve posted about this before, but this gets under my skin. Teachers complain about us kids not reading. Why not assign us to read the Hunger Games or something? I know we are required to read some stuff, but there are opportunities to read other books.


  1. My mom's the same as yours, anything to stop me reading. Though I enjoy buying clothes too.

    In English at my school this semester you read the Hunger Games along with Romeo and Juliet. Too bad I did English last semester so I had to read Treasure Island. Though it's great to see people starting to read books since they loved the Hunger Games.

    I'm currently reading the Book Thief and it's awesome! I know how you feel about your friend not reading though. I've learned to not push mine until they ask for recommendations. I got one friend to read The Hunger Games that way and the other to read the City of Bones. Plus a third friend is interested in If I Stay.

  2. Yeah... I hear you about the books assigned in school. Although, I read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn on my own when I was about 16 and thoroughly enjoyed them. But I know that's probably not typical. (I really hated some of the stuff assigned in school, though. One of my teachers actually chose *snore* Julius Caesar instead of Romeo and Juliet for that year's Shakespeare unit!)

    I'm not sure if assigning popular books is the best way to get kids to read, though. If I'd had to read Twilight, for example, and the teacher had been completely serious about it and not used it as a teaching opportunity about bad writing, I think I would have lost respect for both the teacher and the class. That's the risk: make it all about encouraging kids to read, and you risk alienating the ones who already do (and whose literary tastes go beyond the top 10 bestsellers at Amazon).

    That said, though, I think The Hunger Games has a lot of potential as part of a literature curriculum. The Book Thief would probably be another good one. And if I were assigning reading material to teens, I might suggest Before I Fall, both for the subject matter and the beautiful writing.

  3. P.E.- I try not to say much book related to my friends, but it's hard after they fake heart attack after seeing me read another book ;)

    La Coccinelle- I love Before I Fall! I agree with the Twilight thing, but only because if they assigned books like that I would want them to apeal to both guy and girl readers.
    And, hey! Those books are top ten for a reason ;) I know what you mean, but there are some books that can have wide appeal and good literary taste.

  4. Interesting post--and I definitely see your point. Though, I'm thankful for the books I'm assigned in school that I wouldn't necessarily read on my own, and then end up enjoying. :-)


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