Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ten Rules to Read By

Walker UK is bringing back Daniel Pennac's The Rights of the Reader, and I hope it will make its way over here, too. Walter Mayes gave me a copy years ago that seems to have gone astray, but I've not forgotten its maxims (at least in my private life!), including "the right not to finish a book" and "the right to skip." You can see Pennac's ten rights, deftly illustrated by Quentin Blake, on a downloadable poster from Walker.

7 comments:

Monica Edinger said...

The earlier edition, BETTER THAN LIFE, has been available here in the US from Stenhouse (http://www.stenhouse.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=0&idproduct=317)

I wrote about (as I've known it since the first US edition and did have one caveat that is about generalizing it too much) on my blog a couple days ago at:
http://medinger.wordpress.com/2006/10/30/readers-rights/

Monica

Lynn said...

I love these! For me the most difficult one was #3, The right not to finish a book. It took a long time to give myself permission to put down a book I didn't like! It just seemed wrong.

I'm happy to report it's no longer an issue. :-)

rindamybyers said...

Ooooh...I ran right over to Walker and printed the poster out on matte photo paper--lovely--might look good on glossy too!

My husband told me there was one rule missing, something I do all the time when I read--the right to read the last page first! Which I do ALL the time....if it's a really good book, I'm going to re-read it a jillion times anyway, so why not? Read the last page first...

I'd add one, for the little ones, who like to "read" the pictures...the right to read upside down and backwards!

Walter Mayes said...

Golly, Roger, I'm honored that you remember this! I've been evangelizing about Pennac for years now. I can't remember reading a book that I agree with as much as BETTER THAN LIFE. As I always say, "A genius is someone who agrees with me but says it better and more prominently." Pennac is an f-ing genius! He remains one of the cornerstones of my teacher and librarian presentations. How wonderful to hear that he poster will once again be available!

Monica Edinger said...

As I wrote above, I'm a longstanding Pennac fan (of this book and others), but do have one caveat which I beg you all to keep in mind:

"...it is important to recognize that these are rights for pleasure reading not all reading. As important as I think it is to get children to enjoy reading, I also think we need to be honest that not every kind of reading is for pleasure. Sometimes we read for very utilitarian reasons, say to understand the directions on how to fill out a form to renew a driver’s license or, in the case of my young students, on how to do a particular section of a standardized test. Not all of Pennac’s rights apply in such cases (e.g. quiting and skipping would be disasters:)."

While I do all I can to get my students to enjoy reading, I also work with them to understand that other kinds of reading are necessary in their lives as well. Sometimes I think that this other kind of reading is overlooked.

rindambyers said...

Ah, but here is where we run into serious and direct conflict with the sacred First Rule:

"The right not to read."

Okay, I'm off now to more powerfully exert my reading rights...

Deb Wayshak said...

Candlewick will publish The Rights of the Reader on our Spring '08 list. Let's keep that dialog going...