Monday, March 1, 2010

A search for literature at it's finest

Basketball games were held Saturday mornings at the Middle School down the street. I spent 30-hours at that school this Winter. Walking the halls, I was sad to see empty, empty bulletin boards all along the walls of the Art hall, but for a few nutrition posters. A lost opportunity to display the talent and creativity of the students.

But I was just plain horrified to walk past the large windows that looked down into the student library. I looked down into the large room with scattered chairs, long tables that held computers for the students to use. I saw three low bookcases that held encyclopedia-type books, maybe one or two hundred books. I know I couldn't see the entire room, but I saw most of the room. A few hundred books, at most. What kind of library are my taxes paying for? If only I could have a say about where my money is going....

I'm so sad about the sneaky replacement of books and book-reading. Technology is undeniably part of our world, as parents we are responsible for keeping balance in the homes by competing with technology. Not only that, but what kids are reading these days just isn't quality literature, not to mention content. Twaddle. I hate even walking into chain bookstores. In order to get to the kid-book section, we must wade through the teen books covered in photos of girls in towels and vampirish-boys...books seducing the unknowing teens of the world. Twaddle.

Some schools are doing away with homework. I was thrilled when I saw this, I think it's just silly for kids to go to school for 6+ hours a day, then go home to do 2 more hours of work that takes play time & family time from them, and peace out of their relationships at home. But as I read on, I was so sad to see that though the motives were good (more family time) the replacement work recommended is pointless and empty.

It doesn’t matter what your child reads as long as they get a balance of reading to you, reading with you and reading for themselves. Books, magazines, comics, newspapers, model aeroplane instructions, the back of the Weet-Bix packet … whatever, it doesn’t matter. As long as your child is doing something that they are interested in, they will read it, enjoy it and be all the happier and better off for it.”

I looked at the back of my cereal boxes this morning...the boxes that I've been hiding from my kids because they advertise those vampire-teen-in-towel movies that are out now. Lovely reading material.

This isn't to say I don't let my kids cruise through age-appropriate magazines and comics. The boys love Snoopy. Higlights and National Geo for kids will be subscribed to our house until the kids all grow out of them. I love to see my kids reading fun materials. But these are not a replacement for good solid literature.

Looking back these trends are nothing new. I just see the need to teach and protect and guide my kids with the eyes of a new-ish parent that is passionate about my kids getting excellent literature in their lives and learning more about the in's and out's of Harry Potter.

1 comment:

Hazel said...

I'll toss another magazine into the mix: Cricket. This is high-quality stuff for kids Joey's age.

Yeah, the options for teens are disappointing at best, horrifying at worst. But there's still some good stuff.

I'd say, don't overlook the classics. As for Harry Potter, that's a good one to pre-read. Our intention (if we do read it with Kiddo) is to start the series when Harry does, at age 10, and let him age up with Harry. Too many parents start this books with their Very Young Kids and whip through the series--then you have an eight year old trying to process the hormones, emotion and anger of sixteen year old characters. Weird.

Okay, enough...loved the sentiment.:)