Who Should Decide What Children Read? An interesting article from Education Week in which Dane Peters discusses the issue of assigning students books versus letting them pick their own. Peters discusses his view which can be summed up as follows:
Whether a young adult picks up The Witch of Blackbird Pond or an Archiecomic, To Kill a Mockingbird or Mad magazine, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings or Gossip Girl, it is the mission of teachers and parents to guide, encourage, and stand by to explain and support when needed—and to do all this without intruding.
Let young people decide what they should read based on where they are in their intellectual development and maturity. It’s the best way to keep them reading.
I am fully in the same camp as Dane Peters, I think. My job is to guide students into books, not force them to read “great literature.” But does this mean that I can no longer guide the entire class through one novel at a time? Isn’t part of guiding students to be life long readers teaching them how to love and enjoy all types of literature? Such tough questions and no one good answer.