Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Books- the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (03/09/16)

T   hink deeply about life
h  elp increase vocabulary
e  xplore new places

G ive a sense of life if we could control it
o  we people their jobs
o  vercome social barriers to send messages to new people
d  on't have to stay forever with only one person

Wow. I'm surprised that acrostic actually worked. My acrostic poems don't ever seem to amount to much, although I don't necessarily practice.

Apologies to all who liked the first one. The rest of this will be in paragraph format.

The bad side of books is the limitation of words. The English language is so vast and beautiful, yet so much of what we do is the same. How many books have to use the same plot before someone catches on? How long can you describe a scene that would take a second for your eyes to take in but your words a lifetime before readers give up reading? How often is there a good idea that became buried in characters and plots that never makes its way to the surface? And why is it so crazy hard to write anything long enough and decent enough to publish? An idea takes merely minutes to form, but a chapter can take hours.

You know that the next unit in your English class will be rough when you get to the first format of the ugly side of books: Required reading. You know the scene- the teacher walks to the bookshelves of identical copies of books in a classroom and pulls out classroom sets of a novel that have been used by students for years. Everyone is assigned a numbered book, and you review what you can tell about the book by its covers, as we have been told not to do by parents and teachers. Then everyone turns to the dedication page, reads it, and then delves into the slow process of reading aloud together assigned page after page. All this is fine bearable until... out come the workbooks. Sometimes it comes in the form of an actual workbook, but often there are just copies of content questions passed out to every student and required for class, but either way creates misery in the lives of students.

It's not that required reading is bad, since the books classes read together are actually great books with important lessons that discussion alone cannot explain. The problem is that, in requiring such discussions and worksheets, many people learn to hate reading. Whenever someone requires something of you, such as a worksheet or tax, it becomes undesirable. On the flip side, if someone takes something away or doesn't allow it, there is some kind of mystical feeling behind it that makes you want to do it even more.

The other ugly side of books is... (Continued in tomorrow's entry)


  1. Hi Andi-
    I'm sorry I can't post your blog on the Classroom Slice of Challenge unless you have a teacher sponsoring you and posting for you. We have specific guidelines we've established for students and that is part of our policy. I can see you have a lot of talent and it's wonderful you are writing so much. If you get a teacher to sponsor your blog, have the teacher link to your post. Thank you.

    1. Ah ha...well, there you go. I'd be happy to sponsor you or you may want to open it up to one of your teachers. Let me know if you don't get any bites there at your place and I'll do whatever I need to.

  2. "Required reading. You know the scene- the teacher walks to the bookshelves of identical copies of books in a classroom and pulls out classroom sets of a novel that have been used by students for years."

    Miss Munroe,

    I apologize for my part in this view of the reading classroom and oh, how I wish you could be there for the way things have changed! I have seen the error of my ways and reading is a MUCH different animal these days. It is now about choice and connection...with the text, with the author, with the world! I also struggle with the acrostic, but would love to hear even more about the GOOD! And, also looking forward to hearing more about the ugly as well! Write on, dear, write on!

    1. I do see the good in required reading, and a lot of the good of reading is hidden for each reader to discover.I like how you handled the easy quizzes to make sure we read because it wasn't any trouble to take the quizzes if you actually read the chapter. My big problem is just when you have to spend more paper on book review questions than the novel itself. :)