Students on School Books
Elizabeth Lindemann - February 14th, 2013
Students give their opinions on the reading material assigned to them.
Students at Grandview Heights High School have varying opinions on the literature assigned to them by their English Teachers. From The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky to In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, the English department at GHHS works hard to incorporate both classic works and books that are currently New York Times best sellers into their curriculum.
Different teachers have varying approaches to the way that they teach and the books the students read in the classroom.
In addition to assigning books for the themed units in her classes, Ms. Anders, the sophomore honors and junior regular English teacher has her students pick an independent read every quarter. “It makes things more interesting and keeps the students reading” she said.
After picking their book, the students then do some sort of project like a paper or a presentation on the book that they chose. Most quarters there is a theme like nonfiction or memoirs that the independent reading books have to fall under.
Ms. Engle, the librarian at GHHS puts together a presentation every quarter with suggested books for students to pick. Many students like this idea because there is a large range of books to choose from and there is usually a book that everyone is interested in.
Meghana Jackson, a sophomore in Ms. Anders’ 4th period honors English class typically likes the books that Mrs. Anders assigns. “We’re reading A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving right now, it’s part of our heroes unit,” she explains. “It was slow at first, but everything is coming together now and the book is getting a lot more interesting.”
A Prayer for Owen Meany tells the story of John Wheelwright and his best friend Owen Meany growing up together in a New England town during the 1950’s and 1960’s. The novel deals with a lot of spiritual issues, such as the importance of faith, matters of social justice and the concept of fate.
Students in Ms. Anders’ class have very mixed opinions on A Prayer for Owen Meany. Many students think that it’s very slow and that John Irving, the author, should spare the extensive details. Students also think it’s annoying that every word that the main character, Owen Meany speaks is in all caps.
In one english class The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky was assigned to coincide with the coming-of-age unit the classes were doing back in the second quarter. This caused quite the outrage among some parents because of its controversial content. Other parents thought that the English classroom was the perfect place to discuss the issues that arise in the book like sexuality, rape, and substance abuse.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a very popular coming-of-age novel published in 1999. A teenager who goes by the alias of Charlie narrates the book. He describes in detail various scenes in his life by writing a series of letters to an anonymous person. The novel has gained quite the following and is widely considered a modern classic. The book was recently made into a movie starring Emma Watson and Logan Lerman.
Many parents wanted the book banned because of it’s explicit content, but by the time the issue got to that point, students were already almost done with the book, so Superintendent Ed O’Reilly decided to let the class finish up with the unit.
The freshman English class recently started reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This Pulitzer Prize winner is widely considered a classic of modern American Literature.
Published in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird is loosely based on author Harper Lee’s life. The primary themes involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. There are also underlying themes of class, courage and gender roles in the Deep South.
Although the class hasn’t gotten very far into the novel, MaryEmma MacLeod, a freshman in Mr. Hunt’s Honors English class explains that it seems a little slow at first, but Mr. Hunt and other students have assured her that it gets more interesting and the pace starts speeding up.
Even though most students dread having to read school books, they trust that the English department at GHHS pick some great reads while still incorporating the classics.
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