It's that time again. Big yellow buses are cluttering the highways. It's now safe to go to the mall in the middle of the day (just stay away after 3:00 p.m.), and, my favorite, high school football teams are suiting up for games.
It's back to school time!
Another way to tell that it's back-to-school time? Just go to your local bookstore. You'll see copies of Hamlet, Moby Dick, Jane Eyre, and a number of other familiar titles front and center. Required reading lists for junior high and high school students will, and probably should, always consist of classics like To Kill a Mockingbird, Macbeth, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Great Gatsby.
More modern classics like Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street (which I loved and still have a copy stashed away somewhere) and Toni Morrison’s Beloved have found their way to many lists as well. But I’ve began to wonder, is it time for a makeover?
I’m not sure if there is certain criteria a book must meet to make the required reading lists. If someone out there knows, fill me in. However, with the popularity of Harry Potter and the Twilight series, it seems to me that teens and tweens are thirsting for a different kind of book. So why aren’t schools using them in the classroom? If more of those types of books made up the list, maybe we could get even more kids hooked on reading. Am I being naive here?
I've got two questions: What would it take to make popular fiction a part of the required reading for students? And secondly, if you could add one book to the list of required reading, what would it be. If you’re feeling chatty, tell me why you picked it.