District 214 has had several changes this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but one change that parents and students were definitely not expecting was a complete redo of the required reading curriculum. A list of the new books selected will be released in June, so students will have the opportunity to get the newest mandatory reading over summer break, and complete the requirement before the next school year.
“We hope that launching the updated list of novels will help students gather the materials needed before we go back to school in the Fall,” district representative Judy Blume said.
The books chosen for freshman and sophomores are the famous “Magic Treehouse” series, while juniors and seniors will be reading books from “The Boxcar Children.” They both are at a much lower reading level, which will supposedly benefit teachers as well as students.
“I think that it is an amazing idea,” English teacher Beverly Cleary said. “I always have so many kids in my classroom complaining about how the text they had to read was too difficult.”
However, to adapt to the more advanced reader, the “Nancy Drew” and “Hardy Boy” series will also be available. Students will have to fill out a specific form to become eligible for these titles.
“I grew up reading Nancy Drew,” Cleary said. “It will be so much fun teaching students about the series that influenced me into teaching English.”
Teachers will also be given the chance to share any form of media adaptations in the classroom as an alternative. This is to help the pupils in their classroom stay focused, in order to get the appropriate work done.
“I would love it if my teacher chose to play a video version of the books we would have to read,” sophomore Kate DiCamillo said. “It will really help me stay engaged.”
Children are also going to be receiving devices such as ereaders, “Nooks.” This is for the particular reader who prefers to read via audio or in a digital manner.
“I personally love listening to audiobooks, so I will definitely be taking advantage of that,” DiCamillo said.
Overall, the district hopes that this change will be a successful one. They want it to be an asset for everyone.
“Our goal is to get kids to fall in love with reading again,” Blume said. “This will hopefully be the next best step.”