What’s an English Language Arts Teacher to Do?

I know Z loves A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. He read the children’s classic version in fourth grade, and we saw the Virginia Stage Theater’s performance, and he loved it. Well, why is he balking at it this year because it is an assigned reading in 7th grade?

When I asked him, he said, “I hate it when teachers assign books. Even if I like the book.”

What? Can anyone explain this absurdity to me?  I know this exists, meaning I’ve heard other students make the same complaint, but what’s an English language arts teacher to do?

He was reading Dana Davidson’s Jason & Kyra (@2004) and did not want to make time for A Christmas Carol. (I reviewed Jason & Kyra for VOYA in 2004, so I gave him my copy. I didn’t think he’d read it because it’s romance.) The review is available at  click more reviews and recommendations


He finished Jason & Kyra in 3 days and said, “What’s next, mom?” My aim as a parent who is trying to raise a reader is to never let him go a day without a book in his hand. So, when he completes one quickly, I feel pressure. I told him about Played (2005).

“Can you get it for me?” he asked.

“I don’t own that one, so I’ll have to check the library tomorrow,” I answered. On the way to school we talked about the issues in the book. OK, I talked and he listened. I wanted him to know where I stood on topics like premarital sex, the treatment of women, and dishonesty. Later that day I found the book and brought it home. He hasn’t said much about it yet, but he will.

But what if the English language arts teacher handed him Jason & Kyra or Played? Would he read it?