Apparently, schools are not challenging or helping students read at their grade level or better. NPR reports: “Anita Silvey, author of 500 Great Books for Teens, teaches graduate students in a children’s literature program, and at the beginning of the class, she asked her students — who grew up in the age of Harry Potter — about the books they like.
‘Every single person in the class said, “I don’t like realism, I don’t like historical fiction. What I like is fantasy, science fiction, horror and fairy tales.” ‘
… But in 1989, high school students were being assigned works by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, Emily Bronte and Edith Wharton.”
That’s what my kids will be reading. I plan to help my 9th grader through the Epic of Gilgamesh next fall, for starters.
In related news, young adult novels are finding a lot of adult readers, because they find it interesting and sophisticated. One author says, “Teenagers are more willing to let you genre bend. For them, it’s all about telling an honest story. You’re writing for really smart, really savvy readers.”
And who doesn’t love an honest story?