This link via @HoppingReads on Twitter: 6 WAYS TEACHERS KILL THE JOY OF READING
I don’t actually agree with quite all of these, unusually for me, because I do think it’s pretty easy to think of ways teachers accidentally kill the joy of reading in the classroom. But here are the six ways, briefly — click through to see the more extensive comments in the post —
1. Assigning particular novels
2. Telling students not to read ahead
3. Rolling your eyes at particular choices of free-reading material (eg, graphic novels)
4. Not reading in class every day
5. Assigning book reports
6. Not celebrating the joy of reading
I totally agree with #2 and #3 and #6. Those seem like absolute no-brainers.
Not assigning particular novels? Uh, if you want to have a class discussion about a novel, and you want the whole class to be able to participate, and oh by the way if you think it might be nice if students were exposed to some of the great books that form part of the overarching cultural backdrop, then yes, you are going to have to assign particular novels.
The author of the post, Mark Barnes, says that for example some students may be turned off by the genre of the chosen novel. So? Maybe students should be exposed to genres they think they hate. If the teacher picks great books, most of the class will hopefully like them. And if not, well, you don’t have to love *every* book that is assigned. I say this even though I hated nearly every book that was assigned to me. I don’t think that’s necessary if teachers would only step back from only assigning horrible tragic grim books all the time. Of course I’ve posted about that before.
Okay, and: Not assigning book reports. Believe me, I see illiterate students all the time. Students who have never written a book report and, in fact, cannot write. IMO, it is not possible to assign too many written assignments in the lower grades, with a concentration on writing sentences that say what you think they say, on producing a coherent argument backed up by evidence, and yes, on grammar.
Mind you, I can’t see the point of the trivial pursuit type of worksheet to which Barnes refers. Stupidest question I ever heard of a teacher putting on a test: “What were the spokes of Apollo’s chariot made out of?” This became the classic stupid question in my family.