I’ve heard that The Common Core suggest that fiction isn’t relevant any more. Many English teachers have felt threatened by this news. I have been forced to consider this, and I”m not sure. But recent events have given me hope.
One of my greatest pleasures is sharing books that I love with my daughter, whom I also love. Over the last many months, I have been reading her Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I am too old to have grown up with the series; I read them in my thirties because my students insisted, and I was hooked.
My husband and I take turns putting Lily to bed every night, and I usually only read half a chapter at at time.Last week we finally finished. We ended up reading three chapters in one day because we wanted to see what would happen.
On Friday night, we watched the film version of The Order of the Phoenix. We sat cuddled under a blanket commenting on what they changed and left out from the book. They dropped quiddich and Dobby. They also cut my daughter’s favorite scene, when Ron get’s hit by a spell in the Ministry of Magic and starts to act stupid. When I read, “Hey Harry, I was in a room with the solar system and I saw Uranus up close, get it? Uranus,” Lily giggled through the death of Serius Black. But they kept Luna and Grawp. I don’t remember liking Luna so much my first time around. And we talked for at least an hour even though it was past her bed time, and the conversation continues as she reads the next book
At lunch on Friday, I shared a song that my daughter had written about Professor Umbridge, and most of us started talking about Harry Potter, then great villains in literature, then, mothers. We couldn’t think of many good ones except for Mrs. Weasley and Marmy from Little Women.This went on for ten minutes, we kept raising our voices to be heard over the crowd, until the bell rang and we had to go to class.
Reading fiction gives us connections with others due to shared experience. Of course, that is not the only reason for reading fiction, but it’s a pretty good one. Books matter.