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Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage childr...

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Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage childr...

Post Number:#1  Postby GKCfan » 13 Sep 2013, 15:29

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Classics: Why we should encourage children to read them" by Fiza Pathan.]

Fiza Pathan’s Classics: Why We Should Encourage Children to Read Them is a monograph and memoir. In this book, Pathan draws upon her personal experiences, both as a young reader and as a teacher herself. Today, some studies have indicated that young people are reading less, and when they are, they are increasingly reading paranormal romance books. Indeed, many school districts are phasing out classic novels from their literature courses. Pathan’s book uses her own educational background and her work as a teacher to show the relevance of classic fiction in the classroom today.

I should state my bias in this review, because I strongly agree with Pathan’s central assertions and her belief that students need to read classic books. Pathan’s reading list (containing books like Dracula, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and many Dickens novels, just to name a few), is an excellent starting point– I have no problem with any of the books on her list, although there are scores of other great novels that could be added to the shelves of young readers. Some of the books recommended by Pathan are often saved for high school students, though I concur with her belief that intelligent children can read some of these books before middle school.

At one point Pathan mentions that it is sometimes difficult for young readers to find unabridged versions of the classics. Currently, most of the classic books Pathan mentions are in the public domain, and therefore easily downloadable for free for students with computers and e-readers. For those young readers who are fortunate enough to have access to these devices, it’s a new world where the classics can be accessed for nothing, and stored neatly inside a single electronic object.

There are a couple of small problems with this book, including multiple errors of grammar, such as missing words and sentence fragments. One of Pathan’s appendices contains some of her students’ essays. It would have been interesting to read more about how Pathan goes about grading literary essays. Some more sample discussion questions and additional means of getting students to talk in class might also be appreciated– the list and educational tips Pathan provides are very helpful, though I'd like to see even more.

I highly recommend this book for teachers who educate young children, librarians working with young people, and parents who want their kids to receive a full education. Concerned parents and teachers might also benefit from consulting Pathan’s monograph when speaking to school boards and similar organizations about class reading curriculums.

I give this book three out of four stars.

***
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#2  Postby Ejerwing » 19 Sep 2013, 15:48

I find myself agreeing with this idea as well- I wish that I'd had a few of the more interesting classics put in my path earlier than they were.
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#3  Postby omgully » 30 Sep 2013, 15:21

A great idea. I was lucky enough to have a good English teacher throughout jr. high and high school who cared about reading. Because of him, I enjoy reading classical literature. So much ink is wasted today on cheap novels. The reason being that all the good stuff has mostly already been written. Children need to learn to appreciate their heritage which comes primarily from literature. So much can be gleaned from a thorough understanding of classic novels.
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#4  Postby cathjade » 05 Oct 2013, 09:03

agree with the idea,
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#5  Postby Linkhorn » 10 Oct 2013, 04:37

The simple solution is to make the classics available. Kids are reading "paranormal romance" because they're there (in huge numbers), and accessible.

The smart solution is to create a definitive list of more classics and worthwhile books than they can possibly read, publish it and allow them to tick off the ones they're read, give them a score based on multiple criteria and compare their list with their friends' lists.

Facebook generation needs a facebook solution.
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#6  Postby Sine_Ni_Ceallach » 13 Oct 2013, 09:45

I've greatly enjoyed reading classics since I was quite young. I like Linkhorn's idea—I would even want to use that myself! I use Goodreads, but I have so many books on my to-read shelf that it would be lovely to have a list for classics in particular that I could work off of.
"I could not be sure she was sane; and, in fact, there was a certain restless brilliancy about her eyes that half led me to imagine she was not." -Edgar Allan Poe
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#7  Postby Ibanezakame » 18 Oct 2013, 21:59

I disagree thouroghly. 100%. Why should you Make them? it is unfair. If they are disinterestered, then that's okay. Don't pester, punish or force. EVER. Don't have your friend's have their kids tell them. IT just makes a problem. IF they are thouroghly enjoying their books, let them. Unfair? How? Cause. if they are no good with old English, or are disinterested in the topics in those books, why make them something they are not. Let them. I agree wit having books available, but don't force. I know this for sure.
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#8  Postby Sveta » 21 Oct 2013, 18:21

When I was a teenager I liked classics, but when I tried to re-read some at a later age, I couldn't stand them. I'm someone who reads a whole lot from just about anything (and most of it is literary fiction,) I am often of opinion that if classics should somehow be modernized in language or something, then perhaps more people will read them. Otherwise, if you are forced to read classics against your will, you'll end up hating them. With perhaps one or two exceptions, I have hated all the books I had to read; I hate Ender's Game, I hate Lord of the Flies, and later on in college I couldn't stand Charles Dickens or Shakespeare or even Jane Austen. Also, a lot of children are from different backgrounds and some are of different religion, so how can they relate to British classics?
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#9  Postby TrishaAnn92 » 24 Oct 2013, 05:10

I don't agree with making them read the books, especially if they have a hard time concentrating on them, but I do believe it should be encouraged. I wish I had more encouragement in that department. I was encouraged to read but it didn't matter what I read as long as I was reading. I have managed to get through Pride and Prejudice when I was younger and I would love to read more classics but I have a hard time with them. So it doesn't hurt to at least encourage.
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#10  Postby KSGalDrew » 24 Oct 2013, 10:58

I agree with the idea that students in schools today should be reading the classics. I think some of the modern titles included on some current schools lists should be for students pleasure reading only.
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#11  Postby tabIRinribbons1313 » 14 Nov 2013, 12:49

I think that children should be taught analytic thought. This could happen in any number of ways. I really like the idea of freely communicating thoughts and ideas between as many people as possible. This doesn't mean they have to read the classics but should include some reading. Writing both essay and creative types, debating and some form of linear thinking as well. Something of the Socratic method of teaching. I think we should encourage children in any way that they show interest and with all the possibilities open to us, we shouldn't limit ourselves or our children to just read the "classics". I was also wondering how we would get a definitive list for reading as each college publishes their own recommended reading.
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#12  Postby Augustan » 17 Nov 2013, 09:15

I've taught high school English for 15 years and found that the following classics have been hits with students of all ability levels.

Of Mice and Men - lower level classes love this book, easy to read, thought provoking themes, I've had students who never engaged in class who debated passionately about George's final solution

Othello MacBeth - boys especially seem to like thiese two plays, never seem to miss unlike Hamlet, king Lear and Romeo an Juliet,which are sometimes well received and other times must be gotten through as quickly as possible

All Quiet on the Western Front

Animal Farm- i've had several classes where students, mainly boys, took on the animal personas and role played with them the whole semester

Turn of the Screw

Great Expectations - never had a university level class that has not loved this book, lower level students liked it, but I must admit we used an abridged version with them

Classics that have gone over like the proverbial lead balloon

Little women - tried once, cut it short because even I could no longer see what had attracted me to it
To Kill A Mocking bird - maybe because I teach in Canada, but have tried this book with three advanced level classes and they've all not just disliked it, but found it difficult to understand why we were even reading it
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#13  Postby sweetnsassymom » 20 Nov 2013, 13:11

I don't believe encouraging children to read is the same as forcing them to read against their will. Encouraging children to read means, hey, let's go to the library and see if we can find something that you might be interested in. If they don't like to read, ask them what they are interested in, let's say maybe they love animals, so find some books about animals. Then once they get hooked into reading about something that they like, they will realize that reading is fun too!
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#14  Postby Chloeh » 01 Dec 2013, 13:56

I had a conversation with a young car drive last week. He told me he was saving up to visit Greece because he was fascinated by the culture. I asked him if he had studied any of the Greek classics. Alas, he had not. I sent him my extra copies of the Iliad and the Odessy and suggested he undertake a study of the culture to enjoy it more. I suspect that classics are considered boring ....perhaps teachers should just have a week or two of exploratory classic lit in case a student might recognize that all modern literature is a retelling of the classics.
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Re: Official Review: Classics: Why we should encourage child

Post Number:#15  Postby Reader B » 08 Dec 2013, 22:15

I'm curious what the reading list is for most public schools. I did a book report on Carrie by Stephen King once. I remember being amazed it was on the approved list.

I'm torn between thinking school is the best place to introduce kids to the classics and thinking that it should be used to entice them to read anything. Books have a lot of competition these days and people aren't reading as much as they used to. Maybe a nice mix of current books as well as classics to give a broad introduction to what's out there would be best?
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