I was in the third grade and of course I was avid reader, even back then. But unfortunately not everyone was too keen on that, more specifically my teacher. One time, my teacher sent a letter home to my parents stating that I was doing “pleasure reading” instead of doing my work. I don’t think the real issue was not doing my work. I believe my teacher didn’t take too kindly to the type of books I was reading, which was books like the Sweet Valley High series or Nancy Drew. She expected a third grader to read “high brow literature”. Nevertheless, my mother did not like her from then on.
With different types of books published every month, we as a society continuously are being judged for what we read. I started having an appreciation for the classics when I was in the 7th grade but I don’t think I would have gotten there without reading all those “pleasure books”.But the idea that classics or literary fiction take higher precedence over what might be considered a “low” literature is ridiculous.
I am not saying to disregard classics and literary fiction altogether. You need those type of texts to make you think critically, think culturally, and give you glimpse back into the past. It truly was beneficial to my education; my reading level was tested at college level when I was in the 7th grade. But sometimes most people forget that even a book that is considered to have the simplest writing style may prove to be beneficial to a student scoring high on the SATs.
I don’t know if they still do this but when I was young, a lot of books had the reading grade level printed on the back of the title page. And there was also a Huffington Post article that reported high-school students reading at a 5th grade level. Instead of criticizing and grading the type of books children and young-adults are reading, can we all celebrate that even in the time of social media and constant streaming that everyone, students included, is reading, period? Does it really matter what type of books we read?
Books are meant to be a pleasurable, enjoyable experience. We read to escape our own world and enter into a different one. We can read what is considered “serious” literature and have something that makes our minds think. But we also need books that tether us to this reality and not forget who or what we really are.
So go ahead and pick up that latest vampire or dystopian novel. You won’t get any judgement from me. You are doing something that is more important than judging the book you have…you’re reading it.