Featured image: Alan Cleaver
The books that are typically assigned in the high school English classroom are classics that do not interest the students. There is an importance to reading the classics, but they cannot be the only thing that high school students are reading. Kittle states that there has to be a balance between books the students want to read and books that they need to read. The books that they need to read are a few classics here and there that expose them to culture and history. However, they must be reading more books that interest them than they read classics. The books that interest them will build their reading skills and make them able to read the classics. The books that interest them, such as YA books, cannot be placed below classic literature because YA books also expose students to culture and history. Students are also more likely to read the books they choose that interest them than they are to read the classic literature that teachers assign to them. So, why not encourage your students to read anything at all since they clearly are not reading what they are assigned? Why not let our students fall in love with reading in whatever way possible?
I did not share the experiences of the students in Penny Kittle’s video. I always read the books I was assigned, no matter how much I struggled through them. I loved reading in high school. I read at least 40 books my senior year of high school, and that was because one of my English teachers gave me time to read and gave me suggestions on what to read. Reading Kittle’s Book Love made me understand why I did not like certain assigned books through-out middle and high school. In 7th or 8th grade (I think 7th) we had to read Red Badge of Courage, and I hated it. I read it slowly and I did not understand a single thing. Kittle states that when comprehension and reading interest are not present that the book is too difficult for the student’s ability. I hope, as a teacher, that I will allow my students as much time for independent reading as I can, encourage them to read books they may be interested in, and gauge my students’ reading levels in relation to reading that I require for class. I hope to be a teacher that helps her students learn how to love reading.