Rasma Says

Musings, deliberations, flashes of unaccounted for brilliance…


I am taking a moment out of my heavy duty writing schedule of a textbook for vocational English to say, YA rules. YA as in Young Adult literature. Last night I finished reading Wicked. I don’t know if it qualifies as Young Adult literature by all library standards, but that is my point. There is a certain genre of literature that 1) has a young protagonist and 2) has an ageless appeal and 3) will grab the interest of even young non-readers. 

That latter is my field of specialty. For years I was the Reading Specialist working with young teenagers from a privileged midwestern community. What these teens had in common with their inner city gang banging equivalents was a lack of achievement in school, based primarily on their inability to read. As a new Reading Specialist I often felt more qualified in diagnosing their trouble reading than curing it. In fact, my graduate education was good mainly for diagnosis of reading problems and outwitting standardized tests. My undergraduate degree in English was focused on English authors from Chaucer through Blake. I needed reeducating.
The reeducation came from several holds. One was my English teacher colleague who had a study unit that had the students examining the writing styles in an array of YA books, reading the books and writing similar literature themselves, and writing personal letters to the authors. As Reading Specialist I helped her develop the unit, and learned about YA literature myself. My favorite book in that unit, and one of my all time favorite books ever, was Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. I also fell for A Day No Pigs Would Die, Robert Newton Peck. My reluctant readers got hooked on dog books by Gary Paulsen and sci fi by Orson Scott Card. For years I got recommendations from 14-year-old boys who had never read a book before in their lives to read Ender’s Game. I confess, it did not sound attractive to me. For years I put it off. When I finally did read it, I couldn’t stop. I read the entire Ender series straight through, all that I could get a hold of up here in the Norwegian arctic, and had withdrawal symptoms when I had to stop. 
My personal favorite reading experience, of the sort that forever changes you, was The Never-Ending Story by Michael Ende. The movie ruined it somewhat, but the reading experience remains for me the most magical experience I ever had with a book. I felt utterly transported, along with Bastian, out of a sterile school environment to a vibrant and essential world. 


This entry was posted on 24/05/2013 by in Books and tagged .
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