Monday, December 27, 2010

December 27 - Influencing Opinions

We're on holiday here at my house, enjoying the leisure time. I'm doing a re-read of the Twilight saga right now and today we went browsing at our local book store with all the gift cards we received as presents for Christmas. My daughter's current read-aloud novel for bedtime is "The Fire Within" by Chris D'Lacey. I have to confess that neither my husband nor I are particularly enjoying the book. The tricky part is to try and prevent our opinion of the book from coloring that of our daughter's views. She has not reached the rebellious teen stage as yet and likes aligning her judgment with ours on movies, books and TV shows. Often my husband will hear his proclamations on different subjects echoed by our eldest, which can be an odd thing to hear. We encourage her to hold her own opinions, even if they differ from ours, but she prefers to be on the "same team" ideologically.
It is also challenging to stop overtly influencing young readers when participating in the Forest of Reading program. Students can detect the views of their teachers whether or not they directly state them. I want the young people I chat with about the Silver Birch and Red Maple books to feel comfortable expressing a different opinion. Some kids relish taking the opposing view - like the members of my graphic novel student review team; they disliked "Courtney Crumrin" but I loved it, and they enjoyed debating me heatedly. However, not all readers are as secure with their ideas as these kids were. Maybe hearing two teachers debate the merits of a novel might help prevent this. But, is influencing opinion always bad? Food for thought.

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