EDUCATION: More than job-training

Two Weeks to read The Black Stallion?

I just read a news item about a travelling show that “celebrates young readers of Walter Farley’s classic novel The Black Stallion.”

That caught my attention for starters. The show celebrates not the novel, but the readers of the novel.

I went on to discover that the show is a reward to fourth graders for having had the perseverance to read the book:

The book is apt to throw some readers with such big words as ’emblematic’ and ‘simultaneously.’ But if they stick with it, the reward is a ticket to traveling horse show performed by the cast of the Arabian Nights dinner attraction in Orlando, Florida.

Then came the quotation from a 10-year-old that caused my jaw to drop:

“We read it in our class. It took two weeks. The book was amazing.”

According to the reporter, the boy was “caught up in the story of how Alec and the stallion overcome their initial fears of each other.”

My question is, how caught up in the story could he have been if he was able to wait two weeks to see how it turned out?

I remember when my class was required to read A Tale of Two Cities during class time. Everyone took turns reading. It was infuriating to me how slowly they read, so I read ahead and didn’t have the place when the teacher got to me. She marked me down for inattention, but I went to the library to get my own copy because I couldn’t stand to wait two weeks to see what happened to my beloved Sydney Carton.

Back then, Farley’s Black Stallion books weren’t the sort of thing any self-respecting English teacher would spend class time on. School was for hard stuff. I read the Farley books on my own time, polishing them off in one or two sittings.

As for words like simultaneously and emblematic, if they were unfamiliar to me, I either figured them out from context, or looked them up in a dictionary.

Two weeks to read The Black Stallion!

One Response

  1. Maeve,

    Ever get the idea you are beating a dead horse? Well, I am here to tell you, you are not. I think of myself first when I say, some of us suffer from not being as literate as bygone generations were; still, we are not completely without learning or the desire to learn, so we are not dead yet. Education today has life in spite of how insipid and attenuated it is as taught by most teachers, restricted as they are by their local and state superiors. That leaves but one possibility in my book.

    The absurd humanistic (political) correctness of recent rudderless generations have had a leading roll in bringing American education to its current pitiful state, but, if there is a dead horse around here, it is the U.S. Department of Education, with its the central planning and the strictures it places upon education. After all, it had a lot to do with indoctrinating American youth with the humanistic outlook so many have today. The local education systems of the several United States have been falling at an ever-accelerating rate into the black hole of wretched poverty, since the advent of the U.S. Department of Education.

    I believe the U.S. Department of Education should be closed before it manages the complete destruction of what has made America, America. We have already arrived at a state in this country where many voters are so illiterate they have very little or no ability to make a reason-based choice of who to vote for in any given political election. Thankfully, most of those people do not vote and the few that do vote do so only because they are coerced to by political operatives who tell them who to vote for. I know of no one thinks that is a good situation.

    It is but a matter of time until the lack of ability to reason clearly of many voters will bring down our great American republic.


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