The article by Chris Crowe in the English Journal argues that the reason students respond to classic texts with “this sucks” and do not think about or discuss books the way teachers do is because they are inherently different. Even though teachers know students are different they are still disappointed when they don’t like what they read or don’t read at all. The teachers need to find a way to approach the students who don’t enjoy reading. Chris Crowe writes, “But it’s the rest of them, the average Venusians, that I worry about. If we ignore their interests and needs, they’ll ignore our literature and may very well turn into lifelong nonreaders” (Crowe 120). Crowe also thinks that teachers forget that the students are so different and have different interests, and they have trouble relating to the literary canon that are about characters who are very different from the students.
The strength in using young adult literature is to foster a love for reading and prepare the student to obtain a love for the classics. Crowe writes, “I knew that I couldn’t expect Venusians to love Martian books until they first developed an appreciation for reading. So I encouraged students to use YA books as outside reading, and sometimes I included YA works in selected literature circles” (Crowe 121). In reading these YA books the students find a love for reading, and they felt like readers. When they feel like readers they are more prepared to read the classics.
His article makes some great arguments for using YA book in schools and Cris Crowe is a big advocate for Young Adult literature in general. Click here for Chris Crowe’s blog.