I am going to dedicate Thursday as my “Food for thought” Day. I was looking up a book that seemed to be interesting Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher ( I am definitely going to read this book-btw) and noticed that the readability level for the book was about fourth grade. Well, of course as an elementary librarian I would not make that purchase for my library but it got me thinking, how many more books fit this category?
Shockingly,( to one of my colleagues, not me) there are thousands of books that fit this category. So I began to explain to him that many books for young adults are written on a more “conversational” level. Even though, the content may be more complex or “adult-like” when looking at sentence structure, word count and vocabulary YA fiction is sometimes written to a casual audience. Not that we are degrading their intelligence but lots of times this is more “conversational” feel good writing as opposed to challenging your brain. Even Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is written for the fifth grade reading level, but that third grader who is reading on a fifth grade probably should not be reading the book. I will also definitely not be allowing my fourth graders read The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Great book for the adult mind but the readability level is 4.0.
So the question becomes this… Where do we start, or where do we finish when it comes to reading. Do we want students to enjoy reading anything they like or do we challenge them to push harder? Better yet, where is the happy medium?
I am perplexed by these questions? What do you think?
Read more on the subject:
What Kids Are Reading