Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Picking Apart Classroom Reading Assignments

Link to October 11 Toronto Globe and Mail article, "The battle over Boo Radley".

Excerpt: Much to the dismay of the average teenager, the Pythagorean theorem and natural selection are required elements of a high-school education. But when it comes to the classics of literature like Brave New World and To Kill a Mockingbird , the lines begin to blur.

Campaigns for wholesale bans on these and other classic works make occasional headlines, but many students are barred from reading such books through a simple request from a parent.

The question of how often this happens, and whether the practice should be allowed, is forcing its way into public debate following a controversy at the country's largest school board, where a formal policy allows students to opt out.

No work of literature is mandatory at Toronto's public schools: Parents can simply ask the principal to excuse their children from reading any book. And no one knows which books are substituted or how often because no one keeps a tally.

Perhaps this trend is why more teaching are adopting a Reading Workshop to teaching literature.

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