When was the last time you saw a high school student truly invested on the curriculum’s required reading materials? If you ask the regular high school literature teacher, the answer is, not often enough. Did you really read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school or just read Spark notes? I think our sheepish answers to these questions are where YA books come into play as a helpful educational tool.
Do not get me wrong, I believe reading the classics is like discovering a treasure trove, but how do you make youth appreciate the classics when they resist getting to know unrelatable characters whose adventures are narrated in such an archaic manner. Indeed, most of the youth think the classics could very well be foreign language treatises.
The key element of YA books is what makes it relevant to society: their intended audience falls in the 12-18 age range. YA books capture the interest of teenagers, making reading less of a chore and more enjoyable. They make students less resistant and more curious, therefore increasing literacy and awareness of proper grammar for a generation DAT WRITES LYK DIS.
YA books also make hard-to-deal-with issues digestible for teenagers. Want teenagers to understand death and cancer? Make them read John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars. How about coping with the loss of a loved one through suicide? A book from the same author, Looking for Alaska, might be the best psychological voice to intervene.
I’m Jamie Squillare, a literature teacher from Boston, Massachusetts who aspires to make her students love reading outside the classroom. For similar articles about encouraging reading, visit this blog.