"over and over [kids are]telling me that the books I wrote for them to read are being read to them by their teachers. And hearing a story read doesn’t seem to expand their vocabularies. If a teacher is going to take limited classroom time in reading aloud (and even giving away the ending), the least she could do is hand out a list of vocabulary from the reading to be looked up and learned."While I think Peck was complaining about classrooms where kids' only exposure to trade books was hearing them read aloud, some teachers have articulated thoughtful responses, among them Monica Edinger and Sarah, who blogs at The Reading Zone.
I'm just grateful that Peck is still doing so well in his dual roles, as a novelist both respected by critics and enjoyed by kids, and a provocative voice in the shaping of young people's literature and its importance for readers. Thirty-five years ago, in American Libraries, he wrote one of the most cogent responses I've seen to Cormier's newly published The Chocolate War. And, with the Grandma Dowdel books, I'm loving his renaissance of books for younger readers--remember Blossom Culp?
Also, I predict that this Twitter tempest will seem but teacup-sized once the p.c. police get wind of Mrs. Dowdel's charade, in A Season of Gifts, with the bones of the alleged Indian princess. Pass the popcorn.