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Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Tue Feb 3 17:57:00 EST 2004


On Tue, 3 Feb 2004 21:20:35 +0000, minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:

>Has anyone ever contemplated, in American editions of British-English
>books, putting a glossary at the back rather than changing words, does
>anyone happen to know?  It seems to me that would be a thoroughly good
>idea.  Then one could retain the interesting-otherness for the child
>without leaving it baffled by some word it really didn't have any reason to
>know.

In the Georgia Nicholson books by Louise Rennison this is exactly what they
do--in fact, the narrator of the book even draws attention to the fact that
she's explaining words she knows US kids won't get.  It's an amusing tactic.

In general, I think publishers are just too worried about losing sales, as
someone else pointed out.  And here in the US, any time the subject of
adolescent readers comes up (in magazines, books, or classes) it will
eventually come round to the problem of the reluctant reader...and in many
cases it will sound as though almost all young readers are reluctant.  When
the focus is so exclusively on how to get kids reading, there's an
undercurrent of fear about anything that might possibly put a kid off
reading.  Like, for example, weird British words.  :)  Educational
specialists influence publishers and publishers restrict their offerings.
And it's not like anyone is going to risk losing money by testing the
hypothesis.

I used to gripe and moan privately about the "let's be so very careful with
the reluctant readers" attitude because I felt it unfairly shortchanged the
good readers (since the philosophy is that such children will read without
encouragement).  Now I'm mostly irritated because, though I appreciate the
tactics I learned, I think the number of reluctant readers is vastly
overestimated and the net result is that some kids are being coddled
unnecessarily.  Little twerps.

Melissa Proffitt
(whose own twerps have put her in a cranky mood today)

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