Swear Words in books-During a read aloud would you...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by ~Nicole, Sep 2, 2007.

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If there were swear words in your read aloud what would you do

  1. read the words as written

    4 vote(s)
    8.2%
  2. subsitiute or omit the words (would you put it in your class library)

    37 vote(s)
    75.5%
  3. not read/allow the book at all

    3 vote(s)
    6.1%
  4. speak with the librarian or principal

    5 vote(s)
    10.2%
  1. ~Nicole

    ~Nicole Comrade

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    Sep 2, 2007

    I'm previewing The Golden Compass as a possible read aloud for my 4th grade class. I'm on page 25 and I've already come across two swear words (h and d). Both are used "correctly" but could easily be omited or exchanged for more appropriate words. WWYD?

    • read the words as written
    • substitue or omit the swear words
    • do not read the book (or allow in class library)
     
  2.  
  3. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    I don't know what I would do, I teach Pre-K and don't really have those dilemmas! But when I was in 5th grade we read On My Honor and I remember the "h" word was in it. When we were reading aloud and got close to it, my teacher took over the reading, read the word and just moved along. We stopped and discussed, but from what I remember she did not address the word at all. It was simply a part of the book and was kept in context. I remember I had read ahead and knew it was coming and was wondering what she would do about it! But it was never a big deal, because she didn't make it a big deal. Besides that, the book was really intense for us in the first place so I think we all overlooked it. Just a view from the students' perspective!!
     
  4. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I have substituted before, and it has worked. I'd like to see what the librarian or principal THINKS, though. Hmm, I almost purchased this book. I'd like to know more about it.
     
  5. ~Nicole

    ~Nicole Comrade

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    I'm on page 63-we've had the two swear words, a discussion on heaven and hell as well as an attempted murder :D
     
  6. MsTeacher98

    MsTeacher98 Companion

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    Sep 2, 2007

    Depending on your group, I might leave the hell in if its the discussion on heaven and hell. Saying heaven and heck, for instance, might actually cause a bigger disruption than just saying hell. The **** is pretty easy to substitute. Sounds like an interesting book!
     
  7. etcetera83

    etcetera83 Cohort

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    I read all three books over the summer and loved them!!! However, I feel that they are more appropriate for middle school due to the controversial topics throughout the book. They really are deep.
     
  8. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    I substitute another word while reading aloud.
     
  9. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    If it is a discussion of heaven and hell, the word is used in an appropriate manner - what else can you call hell? But personally, I just think it is questionable to read words that are swear words or cursing in the elementary grades. Yes, they hear worse on the playground, but let's hold out as much as we possibly can. If it were a read aloud, I would probably change a swear word. I don't think parents want this taught to their kids.

    The Golden Compass is pretty deep. The theme can be kind of dark in some places.
     
  10. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    In heaven and hell, hell is considered a place not a swear. A swear form might be, "What the hell did that man think he was doing." In Elementary I would probably skip it.
     
  11. noreenk

    noreenk Cohort

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    Before reading a book with questionable words, we have a discussion about censorship and appropriate school language. I make sure students understand that I am not advocating this language in school, nor will I allow it outside of the context of the text. We relate it to how they often listen to music and watch movies with inappropriate language, but don't necessarily have to mimic it. Then they decide if they are mature enough to have me read the text as written or if I need to censor it. I've not had a problem with it before, but I think this year I may send a letter home.
     
  12. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    It might be a good time for the discussion of freedom of speech, including the right for a "community" to determine what it will and will not allow for itself. Guarranteed by our Constitution.
     
  13. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    I inherited a class set of Shiloh. Someone had used white out on all the "inappropriate" words!
     
  14. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    During a read aloud I would substitute. if it was a class book that we were all reading I would just say it... and face the class discussion that may ensue. I can't imagine editing myself if they were following along.

    I have several Redwall books in my class library, and they use the H word many times. If the child asked, I would talk to them about it, and discuss the authors choice for using that word. No one has ever asked. During our human body unit I have books about sex and puberty out on the unit shelf and no one said a thing- though there were kids who looked at them. I didn't even see giggles or groups gathering around to look at the pictures. (They are totally age appropriate books with cartoon illustrations.)

    By the way, the most controvertial book I find regularly having to explain in my class is the Guiness B ook of World records. In the human body feats section, there are some very interesting things that need a little explaining, for example, the person with the most sexual reassignment surgeries! We had a nice little talk about THAT one!
     
  15. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    That is stupid in my opinion. It would just make the kids more curious! Shiloh is a book used in MANY elementary classrooms, and I have never heard of anyone doing that. I use it as a book group book!
     
  16. armoving

    armoving Rookie

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    Sep 3, 2007

    When I was in seventh grade, my teacher substituted "****" with "darn" and then explained how we weren't supposed to say certain words - of which "****" is one.
     
  17. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    The white out did make them curious and many tried to scratch it off. Ha! Like they couldn't use context clues to guess what word it was.

    I assume the white our came as a result of a called school board meeting where a parent complained about a book her son was reading on his own. The school board assigned a panel to read every book in the school to determine which were "appropriate".
    Ironically, the parent still withdrew her children to homeschool them.
     
  18. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Sep 3, 2007

    Great lesson on using context clues, though.
     
  19. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    If my child was reading something like that in Elementary school, I would be upset too. Save it for later.
     
  20. dumbdiety

    dumbdiety Comrade

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    It depends on the book. For example, I do have His Dark Materials Trilogy in my class library (of which the Golden Compass is part of) and no one has said a thing about it. They are mainly for my higher level readers, I wouldn't do it as a read aloud as I feel it's more of a middle school age book.
    For other words, I look at how it's used. If it's in there 'just because' I replace it. But if it's a historical fiction and that's how they talked, then I usually use it. Only once did a boy laugh when I said a word, and that's it. We had a talk about how speech patterns have changed over time, etc etc.
    Seriously, we'd have to change soooooo many good books! Indian in the cupboard uses the word hell, many historical fiction books use **** or hell. That list is endless!
     
  21. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I teach high school so my answer might be different if I taught younger kids, but I just read it, but if a kid is reading and wants to skip it that's ok.

    An exception is the N word. I explain why it is used in the book and I let the class have a discussion of how they feel about other students of any race reading the word. Usually after the discussion, they agree just to read it and understand why it is there, but occasionally I will have a class decide to skip it and I accept that.
     
  22. ~Nicole

    ~Nicole Comrade

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    Sep 3, 2007

    for clarification, d***, and h*** are used as in what the ****, there is another selection that briefly discusses heaven and hell (as places).

    The reading level of The Golden Compass is 5.6
     
  23. BabyMakes3

    BabyMakes3 Rookie

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    If it is something simple like "H" or "D" I just say the word. It's a part of the literature and the author used those words for a reason. If need be, we'd discuss appropriatness of the words. I teach 5th grade and I have overhead the kids say much worse.
     
  24. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Hahaha. :) It WOULD make them more curious. Three years ago, there was a statue of David in a TIME for Kids Almanac- and I removed the page. I haven't heard about the page missing yet... :blush:
     
  25. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    I had a book for reading group that had a swear word in it. Sorry folks, but I just said No. I am not going to read books that swear. It doesn't have a place in my classroom.
     

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