Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

The Reading Season

with 2 comments

As of Friday school is finally out for Cricket and J2.  Cricket already has her school reading list for the summer.  They are usually good about getting the list out before people leave the country for vacation.  Cricket is still trying to finish Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s  One Hundred Years of Solitude.  We have debated whether we should read 47 together.  It all depends on if she has time.  She has a job this summer working with Artworks and she has play rehearsals which will culminate with her first trip abroad when she and her group perform in the UK. 

As for J2, he’s not down with the reading thing.  Reading for longs periods of time (over 5 minutes) puts him to sleep.  We haven’t gotten his reading list for the summer yet which irks me but shouldn’t since he’s going home to his mother’s for the next six weeks and undoubtedly won’t read while he’s there.  

As a kid I hated reading lists.  I would prefer having reading suggestions as opposed to a “You must read this” ultimatum.  I found great books that way.  I remember fifth grade year we were told to read books off the Newberry Award List and I found one of my favorite books , The Westing Game  by Ellen Raskin.  When I was a teen I was peeved with the selection we had to read (dead white males) and didn’t believe them when they said we would be tested on it in the fall.  I chose to read the books I wanted: everything by Richard Wright, some teen books (some frivolous, some heavy) and mostly magazine.

I had relatively good reading skills but at that time I had to be moved to read and none of the mandatory writers particularly moved me.  Although I allowed myself to pick and choose the books I wanted to read instead of following the guidelines I’m not as easy about it with the kids.  They have to read what is on the list, no matter how boring they think it might be.  Last fall my daughter read Canterbury Tales and then asked me to buy her the edition that had the “edited out” stories.   We discussed it and I got it for her.  Where as a teen my reading diet consisted of Essence and Seventeen  her subscriptions are Mental Floss and Wired, at her request. 

As for J2, I subscribed to some gaming magazine for him, which soon became obsolete because he got a new game system for Christmas.  But he really loves to read stories with main Asian characters.  Or sports books, but mostly books about Asian boys.  If the Asian boys are into sports he loves that even more.  Like Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time, he loves that book.  At the beginning of the year he tried to muddle his way through Necessary Roughness  but it was over his reading level.  His reading has improved a lot this last school year.  When he came to us I would guess he was probably on a third grade reading level although he was in the 7th grade.  But with the help of the school and the determination of his dad he’s a better reader.  He will still be in remedial English/Language for the 8th grade but he understands what he reads now. 

I find it interesting that he needed the Asian characters to pique his interest in reading.  Although he’s half black he seems to want to find a way to explore his Asian side and have Asian people he can relate to.   

I was like that, too, as a teen.  Although I loved to read there came a time I wanted to see a bit of myself reflected in the characters.  I remember asking my 12th grade English teacher why didn’t we read any books written by black women or black men and she found it a coup to finally have women (white) included on our curriculum that school year.  I guess you have to take small victories where you can find them although I didn’t find any comfort in it.

By midweek I should be at the bookstore buying books for teens.  And a few for myself; why should they get all the fun?


Written by rentec

4 June, 2007 at 8:06 pm

Posted in books, family, youth

2 Responses

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  1. What a fascinating read, how can I find out more?


    4 June, 2007 at 8:20 pm

  2. Which book would you like to know more about?


    4 June, 2007 at 8:33 pm

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