Young Adult Lit is the Gateway to a Life-Long Love of Reading

An English teacher explains why parents who want their kids to love reading need to let them choose their own books.

English teacher Christine Stock has an interesting article about Young Adult fiction up today over at The Huffington Post. YA doesn't get much respect in many literary circles. Many teachers or professors consider them to be the pop music of literature -- catchy yet lacking in substance. Whether that assertion is specious or not, I'll leave to you. Stock, the English teacher, seems to have sides with YA crowd.

In her article, she recalls an anecdote in which she tells her shocked students that she hasn't yet read John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, a title they consider among "the best ever."  Sure, Fault isn't Ulysses but who really gets excited over dense, incomprehensible Joyce? English professors, probably. Masochists as well, though those two together are redundant. Green's novel keeps young readers riveted. The value of that is not to be underestimated.

Her students' bewildered response taught Stock a lesson about teenagers and the willingness to keep reading beyond the classroom:

"Their insistence was persuasive and I read John Green's book a few weeks later. I will certainly argue that it is a wonderful book, but what has stayed with me longer than the story is my students' strong reaction to it. You just can't teach that kind of enthusiasm."

Stock explains that Young Adult fiction serves multiple purposes. First, it's something that teens will read voraciously. Second, it's a great gateway to the meatier stuff. You can get kids interested in reading something like Brave New World or 1984 by way of The Hunger Games. The Fault in Our Stars can be a lead-in and reference point to works like Romeo and Juliet. The key to getting young readers hooked on reading is to let them pick the books they're interested in. You can then harness that excitement to teach the canon:

"So talk to your teen about his interests. Consider your kid's hobbies. In which class does your teen excel? What kind of movies does she typically watch? The answers to these will help you find books that your teen will like. If he likes the topic, he'll most likely read the book. Yep, teens will actually be enthusiastic about reading, plus maybe learn something while doing it. And that's what's so great about Young Adult Literature."

For the whole piece, be sure to click the link below.

Read more at The Huffington Post

Photo credit: Christine Stock / Shutterstock

Related Articles

Why the world needs death to prosper

Scientists have developed new ways of understanding how the biological forces of death drive important life processes.

Surprising Science
  • Researchers have found new ways on how decomposing plants and animals contribute to the life cycle.
  • After a freak mass herd death of 300 reindeer, scientists were able to study a wide range of the decomposition processes.
  • Promoting the necrobiome research will open up new areas of inquiry and even commerce.
Keep reading Show less

Why birds fly south for the winter—and more about bird migration

What do we see from watching birds move across the country?

E. Fleischer
Surprising Science
  • A total of eight billion birds migrate across the U.S. in the fall.
  • The birds who migrate to the tropics fair better than the birds who winter in the U.S.
  • Conservationists can arguably use these numbers to encourage the development of better habitats in the U.S., especially if temperatures begin to vary in the south.
Keep reading Show less

How does alcohol affect your brain?

Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.

(Photo by Angie Garrett/Wikimedia Commons)
Mind & Brain
  • Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
  • Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
  • Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
Keep reading Show less