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30 April 2014 @ 10:40 am
You'll burn your tongue off...  
Edd McCracken's piece here (http://bookriot.com/2012/04/08/the-middlemarch-tongue-burn-books-that-school-killed/) confirms so many of my own experiences and the experiences of many other readers and non-readers I know. It is the reason that, when I tell someone I teach literature, there is often an audible mental click as the person begins to turn away from the conversation even on an airplane. Often that person has been forced to read something that was not suitable or appropriate for her or him at the time. The book failed to make the requisite connection.

For me, it was Dickens' GREAT EXPECTATIONS. And it was 5th grade. Perhaps if I had encountered Mr. Dickens later, or been introduced via another of his books, maybe I would not shudder when I see the book or author's name mentioned. Mind you, I went on to become an English teacher, so I was not forever scarred. However, I still react with revulsion to an author that many would say is one ALL educated people should know.

The piece ends with this: "It’s like when you take a gulp of soup before it has cooled down, burn your tongue, and are unable to taste the rest of the bowl. I frazzled my palate... I was under-prepared both as a person and a reader." With all the emphasis on pushing kids to higher levels and lexile, I wonder how many burnt tongues which wil, in turn, result in a generation of adults who elect NOT TO READ ANYTHING. There are only so many instances of suffering burns before one eschews hot soup, right?
 
 
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