Youth Reads for What?

  • Frank G. Jennings


Note to the teacher concerning the boy in the back of the room: He sits in front of you every day, his shiny red hair carefully piled, twisted and swirled into a belligerent pompadour, his pug nose astride a grinning face. He outwits every trick you dream up to catch a shred of his interest. He won’t read aloud even if you don’t call it a recitation. He culls his “book reports” from dust jackets or cribs them from friends. The achievement test you gave him at the beginning of the year placed him three grades below in vocabulary and four below in comprehension. He spells with an inventive abandon that even Chaucer would have envied. During the writing periods you are lucky if you squeeze a dozen lines out of him. They are usually about some battle between the Martians and the Terrestrians over the possession of some uranium-rich asteroid or about using a space-warp to reach the fifth planet of Aldebaran. When the rest of the class is “reading” he either drums with a pencil on the desk or reproduces a battle of the “space-rats,” complete with disruptive sound-effects.


Junior High School Reading Experience Guidance Counselor Funny Business Lone Wolf 
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  1. 1.
    David Lilienthal, This I Do Believe, New York: Harper and Brothers, 1949, p. 55.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Arthur T. Jersild, In Search of Self, New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1952, p. 5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Teachers College, Columbia University 1965

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank G. Jennings

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