Ever skip a reading you were supposed to do for school, and it didn’t really matter? You’re not alone. In a post on Book Riot, avid reader Jessica Plummer confesses to the books she ditched in school and offers a sometimes comical explanation for why. Take Great Expectations:
Freshman year of high school, and I’m having one of my first bouts of feminist indignation. As much as I like the mental image of Miss Havisham ghosting around her mansion in her decaying wedding dress, I’m troubled by what our teacher tells us of Dickens’s mistreatment of his wife and his creepy relationship with his sister-in-law. Plus, the book is boring and Pip is a pill. Why do we only read books by male jerks about male jerks?
Plummer is not alone. Check out the comments. They include contributions like this punchy one:
The Odyssey. Blech. Any of the Greek tragedies. I. Don’t. Get. Them. I can’t do Shakespeare either. I *did* enjoy The Scarlet Letter in HS.
What more can teachers and schools do to ensure students have multiple ways to read and respond to texts? How can they shift from teaching reading to teaching readers? I encourage fellow teachers to really reflect on those questions and head over to Book Riot to ask the recovering readers yourselves. (P.S. I once argued that teachers need to teach re-reading, not reading, which focuses our energy on the reader and not the read. Here’s an article I wrote years ago that, well, I might have to re-read myself.)