Eavesdropping in the Bookstore

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Obadiah, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Sep 30, 2017

    This story begins with needing to get my walking done at the mall. I'm currently restricted from yard work (my preference for exercise) due to cataract surgery. Well, my walk lasted 5 minutes until I found myself browsing through the bookstore. As I meandered toward the back of the store, I overheard a conversation on the other side behind the rows of shelves. Apparently a mother, her young son (he sounded about 8 or 9), and a store clerk were discussing a book for her son to read.

    Mother: You have to find a book for your book report!
    Son: Hey, here's a good one.
    Mother: That's like a comic book made into a book.
    Son: Yeah!
    Mother: No, you can't read a comic book for a book report.

    This went on and on with the clerk recommending various books that might fulfill the requirement. Some assumptions became obvious. The boy did not have much experience with books. The mother was not too happy with the assignment of her child needing to find a book to read. And I kinda got the feeling they were attempting to find a certain amount of pages to match the requirement--of all the fantastic, marvelous books in the store to choose from, I mean, this store's kids' section takes up half the store, they could not find a suitable book. I made another assumption too. I'll bet they don't have a library card.

    Prior to my walk, I, myself, was at the library. I sat in the parking lot waiting to catch the news on the half hour. On the radio was a talk show discussing teachers and the education system and how teachers are failing society, etc., etc., etc. No, no, no! Teachers are doing a great job teaching kids how to read, but if the kids don't read, no teaching is going to rectify that. Meanwhile, Billy comes home from school and Mommy says, "What? You have to read a book? At home?" (Yes, how terrible. Perhaps Billy should be assigned to watch The Cartoon Network instead)!???!
     
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  3. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I probably would have jumped in and made the pick for them.
     
  4. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I can't say I wasn't tempted. I didn't want to interfere with the store clerk doing her job, though.
     
  5. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I agree. I just have a habit of interfering haha.
     
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  6. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Oct 2, 2017

    Turn on Netflix, switch to anime and set to Japanese with subtitles. Then they'll either learn to read or learn Japanese!
     
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  7. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Oct 3, 2017

    Heck, I would have allowed the comic bool (were I the teacher assigning stuff).

    If you come from a home that doesn't support reading, there is little the teacher can do.

    I recall my AP Literature teacher in high school saying with few exceptions we were probably all read to as toddlers.
     
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  8. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Oct 4, 2017

    Another "proud" family of non-readers. So sad. I don't go to book stores too often but I LOVE seeing kids carry a stack of books to the circulation desk at the library. I will often let them check out ahead of me just because I'm so happy to see kids loving books so much!!
     
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  9. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    My preschooler is currently furious with me because the Scholastic books she wanted aren't here yet.

    I totally understand, sweetie. It's infuriating when your books haven't arrived yet.

    Yeah, she's a reader.
     
  10. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Oct 4, 2017

    So here we have a mom who is trying to pick out a book for her kid that fulfills the requirements for an assignment. I'm really not seeing the problem. Your issue is that they should have gone to the library? Why does it matter if they check out a book or buy one? When I was teaching, I would have hit my knees and praised God if I saw a parent deliberating with her kid about what book meets the requirements of the assignment I gave.
     
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  11. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    You're not wrong, but the OP's problem was the culture he picked up on.

    The boy who was old enough to do book reports didn't really seem to understand books. The mom was bitter her kid had to read a book. They were determined to find the least work to do.
     
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  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I have to disagree. If that was the case, mom would have allowed the boy to read the "comic" style book.

    I am sure the book had to be a certain number of pages because that was a common "requirement". However, do you want a child who is looking at comic books to fulfill the requirement to pick out a book that is double the length that he needs when, as a parent, you may completely realize that the work won't get done if it is too big.

    Mom could be miffed because the boy is difficult and the books at home weren't good enough. There were a lot of assumptions going on in the eavesdropping.

    I guess my question is, why didn't the child have a book from the school library?
     
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  13. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    No, I get it. My point is that inferring an entire "culture" from an overheard snippet seems ridiculous. It's possible that OP is misreading this situation entirely.
     
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  14. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Oct 5, 2017

    Yes, and I recall even being read to on TV! Captain Kangaroo read books on his show. Claire told and illustrated stories on Claire and Cocoa. And back to my home, I don't think a day went by without my parents, siblings, and I having a story time or some type of read-aloud.

    And then there were books. My brother and I had the World Book Encyclopedia in our room. (I wanted to be just like Jiminy Cricket on the Mickey Mouse Club and
    Look in the encyclopedia.
    E n c y c l o p e d I a !
    I also wanted to be like Encyclopedia Brown). I borrowed books from my church's library. I recall many thrilling episodes of The Sugar Creek Gang. I borrowed books from the school library. I recall one favorite book about a Martian that lands in some kid's back yard. I recall reading the picture book Amahl and the Night Visitors to my mom and trying to sing the operatic parts like I heard in music class at school. A pop song at that time was Camp Granada, and of course I sang along with that picture book, too. I even made up new words for it after coming home from my first week at camp. There was The Jungle Book, The Hardy Boys (in 6th grade, I did a taped book report of a radio play I wrote about The Hardy Boys staring both of my parents, my brother, and me); there was Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, and the A&P Market had a display of kids' books that couldn't be passed by--I recall Little Golden Books with Touché Turtle (I recall "helping" my mom pronounce Touché's name; "It's /too SHAY/ not /tuch/;" there was Magilla Gorilla, The Flintstones, to name a few. And then there was my favorite book of poems by James Whitcomb Riley. I wished I had a babysitter like LIttle Orphant Annie. I recall reading one of the poems about a boy meeting up with a bear to my 5th grade class, complete with the best Hoosier accent I could muster.

    When I was growing up, not just my family, but all of us as kids were surrounded by books, magazines (like Jack and Jill and Highlights), and now that I think about it, even cereal boxes promoted reading at times. Twinkles cereal box had a story book about an elephant if I remember correctly. And Cap'n Crunch (I just had a bowl for breakfast this morning) was not at all like the current cap'n, back then he had a crew of kids and a sea dog (named Sea Dog). Well, I entered a coloring contest on the back of his cereal box and won--a book. A large reference book about dogs. I was thrilled! And I sent away for a Cap'n Crunch stationary tablet, and I used it to write actual letters sent through a real live mailbox.

    Enough reminiscing. But 50 years from now, what are many of today's kids going to think back about concerning literature? Will they even be able quote Mark Twain's "I read a book once."?
     
  15. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Well, with the bad attitude of the child and parent, I'm betting he did have the opportunity to get a book from the school library but maybe procrastinated with picking a book and time was running short so the mom took him to the bookstore. Not sure why the public library was not utilized. That would have been my first thought. If money is no object sometimes people prefer to buy books instead of borrowing but there's no way to really know what was inside their heads at the time.
     
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  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Oct 5, 2017

    So her frustration could have easily been with her child rather than the assignment or why the child was allowed to use the schools library and come out empty handed. But chances are, the assignment did come home for the parents to facilitate getting a book. That is a common occurrence here.
     
  17. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    There are people whose families didn't have a print rich home but are veracious readers. There are kids whose homes were print rich and read to all the time but still never developed the love or the ability to succeed in an AP Lit class.

    While being read to as a child increases the chances that the student will become proficient, I do believe what happens in school is also a huge factor.

    I hate that any teacher would infer that AP Lit students had "good" parents since I've known enough kids where the amount of reading in the home was negligible and they were in AP Lit classes doing well. I also know a lot of the other type where they were read to consistently and reading was never their thing.
     

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