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18 December 2007


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The different opinions people have on appropriate reading for children are remarkable. Some won't even let their children go to the library for fear of what they might see, whereas others...


Quite the spread, right?

a Paperback Writer

This is one of the things that is tricky about my teachiing 7th grade gifted English. I've got kids who have the vocabulary to read Ulysses and Paradise Lost. But they're 12. In 20 years of teaching junior high, I have never met a 12-year-old who was ready for Joyce or Milton. (We do Shakespeare -- Much Ado -- together in class, with me explaining A LOT.)
So, it's hard for me to explain sometimes to their parents when they ask why I have Eoin Colfer, Shannon Hale, and JKRowling on the reading list. (oh, sure, I have some classics like Treasure Island and The Canterville Ghost on my lists as well.) Why can't my child read Frankenstein? Well, Frankenstein moves at a snail's pace and your kid is bright, but has the attention span of -- well, of a 12-year-old. That's why.

Carl V.

That was so great to read, thanks for the link. I was cracking up and shaking my head 'yes' in agreement throughout the whole post.


This article is great not just for parents, but school administrators as well. At my first media specialist job, I worked with a principal at a private grade 6-12 school who mandated that students only could check out books within their Lexile range. This made my job very difficult. By december I was helping a poor sixth grade boy who had to choose between "Moby Dick", "War and Peace" and "Clockwork Orange" left to choose from. What a choice! Also sad when talking to students and instead of saying they want science fiction or mystery books, they say "I need a book between 500 and 650 Lexile."

I tried to convince the principal that the Lexile should be used as a guideline, not as a rule. For recreational reading, kids should be able to check out any book that interests them. Also, a reading level can fluctuate based on interest level in a subject. This was to no avail.

It's a shame. When people confuse grade level with interest level, it can give a rude awakening to some parents or make many kids feel like reading is a chore.

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