Sunday, August 19, 2018

Does Classic literature still have a place in today's classrooms?

Hello readers I decided to write this post after learning what books my oldest daughter who just started 9th grade would be reading for school and I have to say that I was really surprised. 

Instead of reading some of the most amazing young adult titles out there they will be reading Romeo and Juliet, The Odyssey, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Of Mice and Men.

Personally I don't really have anything against classics but they are just not for me. And I think that with todays selection of titles that schools could find better things for our kids to read that they would enjoy better.   I think that classics are great and some people love them. But they aren’t for me. 

Classics were amazing during a time when books were hard to come by and well you would be reading that same book for ages. Because your nearest neighbor was miles away. They were created during a time that if a friend came to stay they stayed for weeks/month’s.  In today’s world we have access to so many books that are relevant to today’s life. And although some classics still fit the bill. Most of them don’t and well they are hard to read. Not to mention some are very dry and boring. At least in my experience.  

After really thinking about this topic I went to work and started looking at other schools in the area and found that English teachers seem to adore the classics and students seem to chug through them and still some of us as parents sit questioning why English teachers and schools are forcing their students to read literature by people who died over 500 years ago, and titles that are in barely recognizable English.

When it comes to getting normal teens to read, wouldn’t it be better to give them a list of books that they might actually enjoy reading?  Or even a list of books to choose from where they would have to choose 1 to 2 classics and then a few that are more moderen. I know that I told my oldest that if it was me having to read these that I would totally fail this class becuase every time I have tried to read classics I tend to want to fall alseep. 

Spokesman’s in the literary world have said: "Millions of children are readers because of titles such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter.  Their work is perfect for turning reluctant readers on to books.” 

Do you think that these classics are outdated for today’s high schoolers and would these titles be better suited for college English classes?

Personally classics are not for me at all. I have tried reading them in the past and they just didn’t work. I even tried that zombie one that was redone and still couldn’t get into it. In one case I actually fell asleep trying to read it. 

The only classic that I ever read growing up was the Lion the Witch and Wardrobe. I loved that world I will also be reading or trying to read The Golden Compass sometime soon.  But that is as classic as I get. 

Though my search online I did find a great list of equivalent titles for this day and age. I couldn’t find one for the Odyssey but here are the others. 

Classic: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
YA Equivalent: The Fault in Our Stars
In Shakespeare’s classic romance/tragedy, the lovers are torn apart — or, “star-cross’d,” to use the play’s phase—by the feud between their families, the Montagues and Capulets of Verona, Italy. In John Green’s bestselling novel — the movie version of which is set to hit theaters in early June — the lovers are torn apart by cancer.

Both Hazel and Augustus have had experiences with the c-word, but Hazel — whose thyroid cancer has spread to her lungs — is the “grenade” in the relationship, threatening to explode at any moment, and break Augustus’s heart. The novel, which takes its title from another Shakespeare play, Julius Caesar, continues in the tradition inaugurated by Romeo and Juliet, illustrating love’s ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Classic: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Equivalent: The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird examined race and prejudice in mid-century Alabama through the eyes of Scout, the white daughter of a lawyer defending a black man accused of rape. Heidi W. Durrow’s novel, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, also looks at race in America. But in this case, the protagonist is a half-black, half-white young girl growing up in a community (1980s Portland, Oregon) that, in the words of Publishers Weekly, “demands her to be either white or black.” This alternative take on racial issues will complement Lee’s classic while opening additional questions about prejudice, community, and the boundary-eroding powers of friendship.

Classic: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
YA Equivalent: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
John Steinbeck’s deceptively slim novel packs a powerful story about a sibling relationship constrained by both economic hardship and the realities of mental illness. In Perfect Escape, Jennifer Brown offers a variation on this theme: In the wake of a cheating scandal, teenager Kenra decides to “get away from it all” by going on a roadtrip with her brother, Grayson, who suffers from acute OCD.


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