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[Susan notes: I decided to ignore the insidious influence/effect of Common Core in this Wall Street Journal piece.]

Published in Wall Street Journal

To the editor

Re: Children's Summer Reading Guide 2014: Level 1 Readers and Beyond

"Aligned" books are only marginally better than no books at all. Parents should know that the "right books" for their kids are the books the kids choose on their own. I say this as a long-time reading teacher. Inspectors from the state education department used to come to see why/how my students were scoring so well on standardized tests. Invariably they asked, "What program are you using?" Invariably, I'd point to volumes by Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Beverly Cleary, Jack Gantos, and on and on and on. And I'd say, "Kids choose."

It was always hard for the inspectors to grasp "Rotten Ralph" as reading teacher.

Now, as a volunteer at the local library, I relish the sight of children choosing. Last week I watched a ten-year-old choose volume 3 in Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazon" series along with a new graphic novel--while Mom was off choosing her own books.

Mom as a reader is much more important than any alignment the publishers can devise.

Susan Ohanian

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