Wednesday, August 22, 2012

At Least They're Reading...

Do you think it's okay for young readers (say 5th & 6th graders) to read "Young Adult" material that includes language, situations, violence, etc. under the assumption that, "at least they are reading"?

Another line of reasoning is, "I read mature literature when I was young and I turned out okay." Or, "We talk about what we read, so anything my child chooses is fine since we discuss it." Are these legit lines of thought?

And finally, has YA lit changed over the years? Is it "worse" now or "better"? What is your take on the "New Adult" fiction (early 20s motifs)? Is there an age where children can "move up" to older reading?

Thanks for your thoughts and discussion.

4 comments:

Elizabeth Maddrey said...

I don't wholesale subscribe to the "at least they're reading" theory. There's enough *good* YA lit out there that they don't really need to be knee deep in adult books marketed as teen fiction (which is what I think a lot of YA really is these days).

That said, if you are truly an involved parent and are reading what your kids read and talking about the things that are not in line with the morals/beliefs/ethics you want to instill in your child, then I do think you have a little more leeway. (In other words, I don't think you throw The Hunger Games at a kid, be thrilled they're reading, and not fully understand what's being taught through it. Same goes for Twilight, etc.) BUT - you also need to know your kid and know if they really have a grasp on what the line between fiction and reality is. I think a number of kids today have blurred that line, and that breeds people who think a vampire is an interesting option for a mate vs. a story to read.

For that, I don't think it's changed that much - there was some serious junk out there when I was reading YA. And honestly, there's a lot of adult junk out there, too. The goal for me as a parent is to raise a discerning reader - someone who identifies good fiction (avoid outright crud) and who is able to enjoy other fiction for what it is without it shaping their world view.

Lyn Perry said...

You should repost that at your blog! Thanks for the good thoughts.

T. M. Hunter said...

Fortunately, I don't have to worry about this, not having kids of my own. There would be a fine line to navigate, between keeping a kid completely sheltered and keeping them safe from the trash. :-)

Lyn Perry said...

True! As a 6th grade teacher I can offer my guidelines, but if parents allow their children to read what they want, then I have a fine line to tread. ;)