[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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