Reading isn’t always good for our kids.
How’s that for an opening sentence to stir a little controversy among the educational elites?
We’ve been bombarded by so many messages about how reading expands the mind, excites the imagination and enhances the vocabulary (all of which are true) that many parents have forgotten that the benefit of reading for our children very much depends on what they’re reading. And, I’m afraid that many children spend hours reading what often turns out to be pure rot.
With school starting all over the country between last week and just after Labor Day, it’s time for a reading warning: Parents, beware.
In many cases the very liberal American Library Association exerts great influence over what reading materials teachers assign their students. But that material may be highly inappropriate for your child. Don’t let the following scenario unfold in your home:
Mrs. Jones hands out a book report assignment that includes several books for her class to choose from. Mom dutifully drives Suzi to the local library and browses while Suzi selects her book. Within half an hour, book in hand, everyone is feeling rather satisfied that they have been so responsible in starting on the project early. Mom and Suzi arrive home, and while mom begins making dinner, the conscientious and responsible Suzi heads to her room and begins to consume
what turns out to be highly sexualized, vulgar garbage, filled with four-letter words and enough verbal porn to embarrass even an ole’ salt.
Mom doesn’t have a clue that her daughter’s innocence has just been molested in the privacy of her own bedroom. She won’t ever know because Suzi, a bit stymied by the fact that Mom took her to get a book that her teacher assigned, will be too embarrassed and confused to ever tell. Yet, she’s just had sexuality, relationships and acceptable behavior defined for her by some perverted author most folks have never heard of. And the kid was simply trying to get her homework done.
While researching my book, Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture That’s Gone Stark Raving Mad, I took an ALA-recommended reading list for 13- and 14-year-olds to my local library and headed to the “Young Adult” section (code for “pre-teen” and “teen”). I found some books from the list; others were already checked out. One book, the librarian told me, had just been returned but hadn’t been re-shelved, so I patiently waited while she went into the back room to retrieve it.