My son loves reading nonfiction: medieval weaponry, The Dangerous Book for Boys, and survival techniques by Bear Grylls from Man vs. Wild. I looked ahead to his eighth grade year as one of frustration, tying him to a chair while he choked down classic literature.
One evening we sat together at the computer--his list in front of us. Last summer we read Old Yeller together, and he loved it. From Renaissance Learning, we found out the word count of Old Yeller (35k, in case you're wondering).
We found several books on his list, similar in length, that my son is excited about reading. He read half of The Outsiders over the weekend, telling me this morning about one of the "sad ironies" of the story (go figure). Next he'll read Fahrenheit 451.
It pained me when my son was upset about having to read, and yet I understood how he felt. I like reading certain genres, but was forced by my English teacher to read To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm thankful, since it remains one of my favorite books.
Fortunately, my son has opened up to reading about subjects other than spears, gladiators, and drinking your own urine. Perhaps one day he might even be glad his teacher gave him the dreaded list.
What's been your experience with kids reading classics? If you're a parent, did your child resist? Or were you a child who resisted?
photo credit: Barnes and Noble