Good Books for K-6
Q. I've just
volunteered for our grade school's book selection committee. I will be the only
parent with a large group of teachers, a counselor, a media specialist and a
curriculum specialist from our district. The reason I'm on there is that I've
complained in the past about the quality of the books in the assigned reading.
But I'm just a parent and they're professionals. How can I influence this group
away from contemporary, "hot-button" books and back to the great books?
You are exactly in the right place at the right time.
You may be just the breath of fresh air that the professionals need to change
their ways. Educators are finally beginning to connect weak reading experiences
in grade schools with weak literary analysis, shaky reading comprehension and
lack of critical thinking skills in high schools and colleges. Kids need a much
Be advised that the easy way out for educators is to
buy "packages" from publishing companies. They get the books, lesson plans,
quizzes, project ideas, and other aids, all wrapped up into one. Their
marketing makes that seem a lot easier than teachers assigning a literary
classic to the children and having to develop or scrounge all the rest of the
teaching tools themselves. But then again: what's best for kids? The great
books, of course. They don't NEED marketing.
Make it your goal to get at least 80 percent of the
assigned reading at your school from these excellent lists:
see the summer reading list
see "A Child's Reading List"
Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
the Classroom by Michael Thompson
Homework: Share this quote with the people involved in the book
selection process at your school: "Nothing ought to be more weighed than the
nature of books recommended by a public authority. So recommended they soon
form the character of the age." - Edmund Burke, British political philosopher, 1791