This is why I love the blogosphere. Ideas get bounced back and forth and become shiny and polished, like stones in a polishing drum.
A week or so ago, several of us picked up and responded to a David Coleman piece about how to teach reading the Common Core way with Nifty Questions. But the cherry on top of the sundae that was that conversation comes today from Daniel Katz. The post is entitled "On the twelfth day of Common Core, David Coleman gave to me..." and it is A) not a hilarious rewrite of the Twelve Days of Christmas and it is B) long but C) you should read it anyway.
Because, after all the many ways we have tried to explain and distill what's wrong and lacking and Less Than about Coleman's approach to reading, Katz brings us to the simplest, clearest explanation yet.
Coleman thinks the reason to read a work of literature is to prepare to write an English 101 paper about it.
There are a million useful ways to interact with literature. And I would not be an English teacher if I did not believe that there are many benefits to be derived from reading great literature even if you're not going to be an English teacher when you grow up and even if you are not going to be an English major and even if you are not going to go to college at all.
I believe the point of reading and wading into and wrestling with and experiencing literature is to become more fully human, to become (excuse the cheesy cliche) a better person. Coleman believes that the reason to read literature is to write a better term paper.
It's as clear a way as any to capture how Coleman's vision of language education is cramped and small and limited and meager. But you should click on over to Katz's blog and check it out. Because his piece, like many other pieces of writing in the world, is well worth reading even if you aren't going to have to write a paper about it.