Is there such a thing as an English class that doesn’t read a single, real, whole book over the course of the year? I mean I know there is. Some places — WAY TOO MANY in fact — have the The Lords of District Oversight that Ban the Reading of Novels in English Class
That’s right, they mandate that NO NOVELS be taught.
It’s all excerpts, pieces taken from anthologies, worksheets, scripted programming and… biggest of all, practice tests to prepare for the real tests.
Am I the only one who thinks this is nuts?
Every good English teacher I know uses real books in the classroom. From Crime and Punishment to The Outsiders to The Skin I’m In to Old Yeller to Hatchet to The Great Gatsby to The Pearl to The Lord of the Flies to Animal Farm to To Kill a Mockingbird and on and on and on, real books are part of the fabric of what makes for, in my estimation, the essential, core constitution of a real and effective and meaningful ELA class.
When exactly did that stop? (Don’t worry, I know. It’s rhetorical.)
So the question is, forgetting even my own prejudice towards the use of real books (prejudice because 1) I love them and 2) years and years of experience tell me that they work as my BEST tool for accomplishing all the literacy goals both I and my school district have for our students) am I the only one who believes we need to re-double our efforts to start fighting for primary source authentic literature (i.e. real books) in the classroom?
Because real books are under assault from the bean/bubble counters.
Could you teach an entire year as an ELA educator without being able to use one real novel? And if so, do you think that by doing so this would be a methodology that best serve the needs of your kids?
The Lords of District Oversight that Ban the Reading of Novels in English Class are a menace to the very fabric of our discipline… and isn’t it time that someone stood up to them and explained how the emperor has no clothes?
And a tiny wanker, too.
Sorry, just had to get that last “little one” in. Get it? Little one?