professornana (professornana) wrote,

Independence, not just for countries

It has been an odd Fourth of July for me. While the BH and I did find time to go out and eat some lovely fajitas (our preference over the requisite hot dogs), I have spent much of the day with James Corss Giblin's THE RISE AND FALL OF SENATOR JOE MCCARTHY. I knew about McCarthy and his role in the interrogation of those suspected of being a Communist or a communist sympathizer. However, I had no idea about his shenanigans before this period of history. He exaggerated his military record for political purposes and, basically, would be right at home in today's dirty political arena.

The other thought running through my head on this Independence Day is the work of my friend and colleague, Donalyn Miller, aka The Book Whisperer. The book she is writing now is called READING IN THE WILD, and I have listened to her talking about, "what does reading look like in the wild?" So, on this celebration of independence, let us think about how these two seemingly disparate thoughts fit together. Here is my take (and remember I am high on fajitas!).

If we create those independent readers, those readers who can survive out in the wild (e.g., beyond the classroom), we should be encouraging wide reading and not just the narrow canon or (heaven forbid) the Exemplar Texts from Common Core Standards. A reasoning YA would find in the Giblin book things that would distrub her or him and perhaps make him or her look more critically at what passes for political "debate." In my more paranoid times, I think this is exactly the point of the narrowing of our curriculum: make students simply passive vessels we fill up with just the skills needed to be drones in the workforce.

Hank and John Green have elected FAHRENHEIT 451 as their summer "study." I think perhaps this is the most crucial time to examine Bradbury's novel and muse about what happens when thought is controlled.

OK, you can return to your holiday celebrations.

Just as a reminder: my blog postings about books are here:
Tags: freedom, politics, reading
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