Monday, June 19, 2006

Rockstar: Rick Riordan

Rockstar Rick Riordan worries that the appearance of The Lightning Thief on r-e-q-u-i-r-e-d summer reading lists could take the fun out of reading the book. I understand his concern. So many of my kids loved Holes until they HAD to read it as LITERATURE during the school year.

Hopefully, summer reading lists require a lighter touch and no hunting for similes, no character analysis, no long discourses on Theme or Voice. This can be the book that makes kids think, "hey, this summer reading thing is fun!"


I like the Texas Bluebonnet list because it offers books I would never ordinarily pick-up to read. When I first saw the Texas Bluebonnet List for 2006-2007, I predicted the Robert Sabuda Dinosaur book would win the hearts of Texas school children. That glorious pop-up book is just so enticing--that is IF libraries will get over their fear of damage and provide it to their kids.

The award is voted on by the children of Texas, grades 3-6 in January. In recent years, it seems like the book that appeals the most to 3rd graders wins the award because they vote in large numbers.

Novels take more time to read and teachers often cannot fit them in as easily as read-alouds so the kids have more exposure to the picture books on the list. The last novel to win was Because of Winn-Dixie in 2002.

However, based on the reaction I receive to my read-alouds of The Lightning Thief, I am changing my bet. Percy Jackson could sweep the vote.

I know, I know--it should not be a contest--all the books are winners. I'm rooting for Percy.


Anonymous said...

I don't think that summer reading is the reason kids hate Holes. I think that's the fact that schools for some reason teach it in every grade from 4-8 (and read it aloud in 3rd)!

It's one of my favorite books but I'd hate it too if it were the only contemporary novel we read in class and teachers beat it to death.

A lot of schools have begun to update their summer reading lists to include things kids/teens actually want to read.

Camille said...

You are absolutely correct. I agree that it is the way they teach these novels that is the problem. They do Holes in 6th grade here.

Anonymous said...

Camille, I was at a school in a nearby town recently, and one bulletin board featured first-grade student papers about an Arnold Lobel book. (perhaps Frog and Toad...I forget exactly which one) They all looked at exactly alike and all had a comment along the lines of "Great! You correctly identified the story elements." And I thought, story elements? what the heck are you talking about? If I had to go through a fun book in 1st grade and analyze "story elements," I would have hated it. A chore instead of fun.

Camille said...

Isn't reading fun, kiddies?