Monday, January 10, 2005

Better than Shakespeare

My daughter got her assignment the other day for her big seventh-grade research paper. Her teacher had warned me it was coming at our conference last week, and she was dreading it as much as my daughter was, knowing how few of her students would actually apply themselves, do the work, and turn it on time. This seems to be a real challenge for most kids at my daughter's school, and I'm constantly hearing reports about reports never being turned in, disheartening the teachers no end. Turning things in is one of my daughter's great strengths, however, and I'm sure this research report will be no exception. I'm kind of looking forward to working with her on it, actually. The assignment is to research the life of a famous author, read a few of his or her works, and compare and contrast them. On the list of possible names, along with Shakespeare and a host of usual suspects, I was delighted to see Cynthia Rylant, whose books my children have enjoyed at all the various levels of their reading ability, from "Henry And Mudge" through "Cobble Street Cousins" through "Missing May." I instructed my girl to choose Rylant as her author, and I'll be interested to see what biographical info we turn up. I suspect they want her to compare and contrast young-adult-level short stories, but maybe we can sneak in there with some sort of analysis of the endearing coolness of the parent figures in author's primary-level chapter books. Or do you think that would tip the teacher off that I helped too much?

No comments: