Friday, February 26, 2010

4 comments:

jennifer nevarr said...

ok, Leigh, I want to know some of your top picks for nonfiction reads. (students and parents..) I could start a list with Amusing Ourselves to Death, which I only read when you told me to, ;-) But I need other good recommendations. Thanks for the link to the article, I bookmarked it to go back to later.

Timothy R. said...

Nice article by Mr. Matthews.
I am not at my home computer, so I do not have the first report on what kids are reading available to me. Like Matthews, I noticed that an obscenely high percentage of the most popular books read from 5th grade upward were written by two authors: Rowling and Snickett.
I don't want to quote incorrect figures, but it was shocking.
Unlike Matthews, we interpretted this as a testament to the power of marketing in a thoughtless world, and wondered who the next two would be. Now we know.

Grades may not be impacted by AR, but rewards, which can range from special treats, to candy, to money, do tend to skew participants choices toward high point, low difficulty tomes (such as Potter - 16 to 35 points) over healthier selections such as Narnia - 6 to 9 points. The Perelandra trilogy might get you as much as 26 points for one of them, but it is not an easy read or an easily read style, so Potter will most likely be chosen first. There is one Lewis non-fiction - Surprised by Joy, which in addition to lacking the appeal of fiction, also lacks heft at 13 points. I wonder how many of these latter tests have been administered.
I suspect that the presence of any thing approaching literature on the list is due to the uniformity of classroom assignments nationwide and opportunism, as students can get a grade and a treat both. If you filter out these frequently assigned books, the popular publishing industry's hold on reading habits is virtually complete.

1 Smart Mama said...

Jennifer-

Let me think on this; I'll get back to you.

Timothy-

Thanks for sharing your insights!

1 Smart Mama said...

Why not try Mark Bauerlein's The Dumbest Generation, Mike Huckabee's Do the Right Thing, and David Mulroy's The War Against Grammar for starters? Also, since Ravi Zacharias will be on Blog Talk Radio some time this spring, you could browse through some of his titles like The Grand Weaver or Beyond Opinion.