TC Media Center from the Office of External Affairs

Section Navigation

Assigned Books Often Are a Few Sizes Too Big

Reading experts wanting to know why schools give children material that is too hard to read.  Schools expect children to read difficult material and love to read.  "We try to push adult stuff down on younger and younger kids, and what's the point?" asked Lucy Calkins, founding director of the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University's Teachers College.

"Teachers studied 'The Great Gatsby' in college and then want to teach that book because they have smart things to say about it, and they teach it in high school," Calkins said. "Then schools want to get their middle school kids ready for high school so they teach them 'The Catcher in the Rye.' It's a whole cultural thing."

So should kids read Shakespeare or the comics? Graphic novels or "To Kill a Mockingbird"? Reading experts say they should read everything -- when they are ready to understand what they are reading.

This article appeared in the October 24, 2006 edition of the Washington Post.


previous page