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08 September 2014 @ 04:57 pm
Who decides  
The headline from a recent article asked Who Should Decide What High School Kids Read: http://m.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/09/who-should-decide-what-high-school-kids-read/379609/. I wish the article were a bit more accurate (You only have to be 17 to see an R rated movie without parent or guardian, though this is seldom enforced). However, it does include quotes from Joan Bertin from the National Coalition against Censorship (ncac.org) who answers some of the arguments made by censors and challengers including the age appropriateness debate. Ironically, it seems age appropriate does not seem to bother most folks when it comes to forcing kids to read books in higher levels and lexiles. And, of course, there are some details missing here, too.

But such is the case with many attempts to ban, censor, and challenge. Most arguments are about "protecting" kids. So, that begs the question in the headline: who should be in charge of deciding the books high school kids can read? Why do we not trust kids to make those selections? Why do we not petit a parent to object for her or his kid without turning this into a challenge that seeks to remove a book for all kids?

When educators do not allow for choice, censorship and challenges often spring up. Here is a lovely blog post about how to kill a love of reading in kids: http://www.brilliant-insane.com/2014/08/6-ways-teachers-kill-the-joy-of-reading.html.

One way to reduce censorship and challenges might be to provide more choice in reading materials. Instead of Choosy Mothers Choose Jif, why not make it Choosy Readers Choose for Themselves?
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