“Preparing them for a college education with “Twilight” is like preparing a marathoner with Twinkies.”
This line is from Alexander Nazaryan in her article, “Against Captain Underpants: How we are raising a generation of illiterates”, published in the NY Daily News. It comes just days after an op-ed by Dr Sandra Stotsky in Bloomberg stating that “New Reading Teachers Should Pass a Reading Test“.
Why so much interest in reading proficiency? Perhaps it’s because of a recent study demonstrating that the average American High School student reads at a 5th grade level.
“The republic cannot flourish in the 21st century, no matter how much time English or reading teachers spend teaching ‘21st century skills’ . . . if the bulk of our population is reading at or below the fifth-grade level.” — Dr Strotsky
Food for thought folks. If you have high school students who hope to go to college one day, you may want to check their school reading lists. And if they’re long on books like Twilight, The Hunger Games, or Harry Potter and short on books like To Kill and Mocking Bird, The Great Gatsby, 1776, or Don Quixote, you may want to have a word with your child’s teacher.
Just because reading books like The Great Gatsby are a little boring and harder to get through than Harry Potter, doesn’t mean our children shouldn’t be required to read The Great Gatsby and other classics, if for no other reason than to help them develop the habits of the mind that require them to pay attention to a task for more than a few minutes and extend themselves beyond their comfort zone. Complacency isn’t a skill many employers desire, and it’s not a habit many successful people possess.