Fascinating story in yesterday’s New York Times about a middle school teacher in Georgia who is taking a different approach to literature curriculum. For years, the story says, Lorrie McNeill assigned Harper Lee’s classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” to her eighth graders. Now, she’s letting kids pick their own books and the choices are all over the map: young adult, chick lit, James Patterson’s thrilling “Maximum Ride” series and even “Captain Underpants.”
But some kids are picking heftier tomes, and the resulting engagement far surpasses what happens when teachers do the picking. “Done correctly,” McNeill told the Times reporter, “letting students make some or all of their reading selections can be a life-changing event in a child’s or teen’s life.” Other school districts in Seattle and Chicago are following suit.
What do you think? Do kids respond more when they pick their books? Or are they missing out when they’re allowed to go all “Underpants” all the time?