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Blogging On History, Science, and Education

Reading About the Real World in English Class?

The books usually assigned in language arts classes--novels--don't prepare students to read with understanding about the world they inhabit. Yes, like everyone else I love a good novel. But nonfiction can be just as gripping. This year's "Boys In the Boat," is a page turner and a true story.
What about nonfiction that deals with physics or history? It can not only be compelling, it can lead to understandings of the world we inhabit. Good nonfiction is enthralling and, knowing that your are reading a true story? Well that just adds frosting to the reading cake.

Here is E.D. Hirsch again, "The association of language arts mainly with fiction and poetry is an accident of recent intellectual history that is not inherent in the nature of things. Older American texts that were designed to teach reading, such as the McGuffey Readers, contained moral tales and historical narratives as well as fictional stories (not that we should go back to the McGuffey Readers, which have many shortcomings). Ideally, a good language arts program in the early grades will contain not only fiction and poetry but also narratives about the real worlds of nature and history. Ideally, such a program will fit in with and reinforce a well-planned overall curriculum in history, science, and the arts."
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