What if you had a teacher that, instead of forcing books on your from a curriculum, let you choose which books you wanted to read? Pretty neat, huh? It's sort of this progressive movement that more and more teachers are getting into in order to fuel reading as opposed to stifling it by forcing students to read things they may not want to.
From a teaching perspective, school isn't about doing the things that you want. It's about learning. If students did only what they wanted, no one would know algebra. There is a method behind the madness of forcing cosine on young minds.
On the other side, though, in the English world, even as someone that loves reading, I cried on the inside when I had to get through books that I just couldn't get into. And that was through college. And, really, those that I was forced to read I didn't really get anything from. Nothing sunk in, I wasn't hit with any kind of profound insight. I'd have to read them again now in order to get that. And, in all honesty, I have more entertaining things to read.
If it were me teaching, I'd keep some of those unsavory works and force them upon my students, really, for their own good. It's the one time where you know you can shove in the "classic" reading and they actually have to do it. But I'd let them choose their own works as well. Why not? As if you can't pull deeper meanings from today's YA? Please. Properly dissected, you can learn anything from anything.
I'd want to keep students reading the same things for a portion of the time because working in a group dynamic will allow students different insight to the same works. They'll be able to get different views that they may not have been able to see on their own. Then I'd allow them to take those dissecting skills that they learned in their groups and apply it to the reading that they choose. Really, I don't see the harm.
Yeah, "fun" reading can be done anytime and school is supposed to be where the "hard" stuff is learned but if you screw up reading for kids young enough, they're not going to want to do it later in life. Equate reading to work and it ceases to be fun. Allow reading to be associated with fun and learning and it's beneficial to everyone.
How do you feel about that? If you're beyond school age, do you find a benefit to integrating personal choice into a teen's education? If you're in school, would your teachers allow something like this? Do they? Which books would you choose to read if given the choice?