Saturday, July 15

Opinon Saturday

An interesting post by here in korea: Gossip Girls got me wondering about something this week. I thought it would make an interesting Opinion Saturday question. Do you think it is appropriate or necessary to help young teens (ages 12-15) select reading material, or should you just give them free run of the library? Tell me what you think, and why. You have until Monday evening to comment on my blog or link to a post on your own blog. Tuesday I will award the Golden Keyboard to the person who makes the most convincing argument.

20 Comments:

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Christina said...

I let my teens pick anything they want. I do let them know what I wouldn't read and why, but other than that it is their choice. This usually works out good because it opens up a line of communication whenever they ask me questions about their reading materials. I find usually they pick approcpriate books anyway. We are Christians but they need to be exposed to all sorts of religions and cultures to become well rounded adults.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger momteacherfriend said...

Screening depends more on the character and maturity of a child than it does on age. There are some preteens that can filter out the junk. While others need guidance.Some will gravitate to wholesome reads, others to smut. We need to know our kids, more than we need to know what their reading. Their reading selections can often show what they are interested in, how they have grown and what their value system is.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger MomEtc. said...

I would be uncomfortable with my 12-15 year old reading books in the Gossip Girl series. I don't want her viewing that type of lifestyle as normal. It's not only not normal, it's downright dangerous. I'm sure most kids will try to get their hands on books like this anyway....I remember when I was that age. Hopefully I can encourage her and guide her into understanding why these books are unhealthy.

 
At 12:30 PM, Blogger Wendy said...

I think it is a really good idea to know what your kids are reading and give your input on it. This should be something parents care about. We should care about what they see, read, and think. I always think of the saying, "Garbage in equals garbage out." I have found this is true for myself as well. I need to fill my mind and time with things that are of value.

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger Beck said...

I think I'm going to post my response on my blog - I started writing one and just seemed to be going on forever!

 
At 3:37 PM, Blogger margalit said...

I allow my teens to read whatever they want as long as it isn't porn, which our library doesn't have anyhow. I do so because allowing them to choose their books also guarantees that they're going to actually read the books. I want them to read, because that's how one learns about the world around us. We may not always agree with the content of books, but heck, if we can't digest a differing opinion, then what hope does the world have?

My 13 year old daughter likes to read biographical fiction and historical fiction. She's learned all about China during WW2 from a book she decided looked interesting. Had I intervened, I would have told her it was way too hard for her to read, but because I shut my mouth, she read the entire book, and it was a very difficult read.

My 14 yr old son likes to read rock and roll biographies. Me, I find them tedious and boring, but he loves them. However, he also has discovered Al Franken and Micheal Moore and has formed his own political view by reading and eschewing Ann Coulter. That's what I want my children to be: independant thinkers and learners, and by censoring their choices, I don't think they could ever get that lesson.

 
At 4:08 PM, Blogger My Full Hands said...

Having not hit the teen stage yet with my kids, I haven't given it much thought. For a couple of my kids I am glad for them to be reading at all. They really don't have acces to much at their ages that I don't know about (that I know about!)

Teenagers will get thier hands on what they want to whether we are aware of it or not. I would rather know what my kids are reading than enforce a certain reading schedule and have them feel forced to "sneak" other reading materials.

I think, as in most things in life, we need to guide our children and keep open conversations with them. I hope I can teach my kids good values and then have the courage to stand back and let them have the opportunity to make choices themselves.

It scares me that they might make poor choices that may affect more than just what they are reading. They will have to be fully responible for themselves someday, and have to learn how to make thier own choices. I hope they will trust my guidence and build their value sytem while they are young, or learn from their mistakes before the consiquences get too severe. I hope they will allways TALK to me about whatever they are reading and thier opinions of it.

 
At 4:17 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

My kids are not this age yet so maybe my opinion will change when they get older, but I think we should be screening what our kids are reading. We wouldn't let them pick any video or any TV show why is there different criteria for books?

I think kids need guidance. My son (he is 8) wants to read Harry Potter. We have said no for now. And no I am not anti-Harry Potter, but Kellen is very sensitive to spiritual/magical books and movies. He has nightmares. Other things don't bother him as much.

I know as a teen I read romance novels that were just way to graphic. Hopefully they will choose wisely, if not I will step in.

 
At 6:46 PM, Blogger Veronica Mitchell said...

I remember the smut I read at that age. So I think A) a little crafty selection is a good thing and B) they will sneak stuff by you no matter what you do, so don't beat yourself up about it.

Anne Fadiman wrote about learning about sex from a novel in her dad's library. It was the only book he put on the shelf with the spine turned in. Of course that drew her right to it. So I think I'll try a similar method with my girls when they are older, with a novel I pick out rather than something trashy. Other than that, I plan to remove some of our more dangerous books before they get old enough to read them.

 
At 10:45 PM, Blogger Jozet said...

Oh gosh, I'm not shooting for any award, but my feeling on this one is that it depends on a lot of factors: the child's maturity level and level of interest in reading two of the biggies.

Working in the bookstore, I hear parents bemoan the fact that a child ins't interested in reading much of anything at all, and meanwhile they are quietly strong-arming them into choices that the parent thinks are appropriate instead of letting the child find something - anything! - to read. Personally, I'd rather my child reading something, anything, than not reading at all.

That said, the teen section of the bookstore is a different animal than when I was 13 years old back in 1979. Back then, "Are You There God It's Me Margaret" was scandalous for mentioning periods. The teen sex scene is now currently alive and well in many teen books.

I think that more important than simply yay-ing or nay-ing specific choices (which lead me to hiding Judy Blume books under my bed), parents and teachers do well to do what needs to be done to keep lines of communication open, and to teach children how to read for comprehension and with a critical mind. To question assumptions, to question choices and conflict resolutions. This goes for approaching any media: television, movies, Internet information.

And this needs to happen early. In the early reading years, we are very concerned first with getting kids to read, decoding, and then reading for comprehension. But the critical thinking skills need to be developed all along. It does no good to foster a "friendship" with any media and then, 12 years down the road, ask the child to being taking a critical look at their best friend. It doesn't work with human relationships and it won't work with media.

Anyway, if a child is taught and encouraged to read with a questioning mind - as well as for entertainment, escapism - then I have far, far fewer concerns about the particulars of what is being read.

 
At 11:24 PM, Blogger Pieces said...

I had so much to say, I did it on my blog. Great question. And great answers!

 
At 8:14 AM, Blogger Jeana said...

Beck, I would like to read your response but when I click on your link it shows a Blogger profile with no blog listed. Where are you, girl?

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger Beck said...

Jeanna, you click to my profile, and a few bars below the picture of Ramona, there's an underlined "My Webpage", which should get you from here to there. My address is: http://frogandtoadarefriends.blogspot.com/
and the post is called "Young Adult Novels".
Lots of interesting points being made! I had to carefully think over what my position was on this issue...

 
At 12:31 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Well, I pretty much read whatever I wanted to as long as I can remember. I also read above my reading level and I think I read a wide variety of material. I think it is so hard nowadays to get kids to read that it would be a shame to hinder a child's desire. However, that being said, there is nothing wrong with having boundaries or guidelines for kids in what they can or cannot read at certain ages. There's really no reason to NOT know what books are about, thanks to places like amazon where ppl write comments and summaries etc. Plus, if your child gets scared easily, letting them read certain things would probably not be a good idea. So I think a parent should be aware of what their kid is reading, just like they should be aware of what they are watching on TV or playing on the video games, or doing online. We are their parents. If we don't do it, who is?

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger Maggie said...

I posted my thoughts on my blog
http://maggiesmadcaplife.blogspot.com/2006/07/should-we-sensor-teen-reading-choices.html

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger Kelli in the Mirror said...

Posted my thoughts on my blog!

 
At 8:41 PM, Blogger lovegreendog said...

fascinating subject here! my wheels are turning...

does anyone still read with their kids at 12+?
i have a 7 and we are still at it together, which i love - but do they "out grow" this?

 
At 9:04 PM, Blogger owlhaven said...

lovegreendog-- my hubby still read to all our kids, even up to the 18 year old going off to college next month

Mary

 
At 11:21 PM, Blogger april said...

I know I missed the deadline, seems like that's my new thing to do. But, have to give my two cents. I don't let my twelve year old daughter view certain movies, why would I let her read a book about some of the same things I'm trying to protect her from seeing. She was given the book Bridges of Madison County from a relative and I said not yet, I also told her why; it's a book about a married woman that has an afair while her family is away. I sure don't think it's appropriate for you to be reading about that, she agreed. So far, she has good discernment and if she questions a books content she asks me if she should read it.

 
At 5:14 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

I also wanted to link over here from WFMW and give my opinion. I love that you said (in that post) that you read their books sometimes. I think that it's great because it gives us another way to connect with them, in addition to "approving" what they are reading. Not to mention that some books are actually very enjoyable. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall is a book that I think is great for all ages. I would read it again as an adult, and my 3rd grader liked it, too. That's my review in the link.

 

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