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Anonymous
Anonymous asks:
Q:

Is it appropriate that my 4th grade, 9 year old is being required to read Diary of Anne Frank?

In Topics: School and Academics, Recommended Books, Worldwide education issues, Helping my child with social studies / history
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Allyn Anderson
Apr 8, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

As I understand your question, it appears that you are concerned about your 9 year old reading the Diary of Anne Frank. Although on the surface, this book might appear to be an "advanced" topic for your child unless your child is mature for his/her age. Some "young adult" books are rewritten at a more juvenile level with a "softer" approach to a topic. Could this be true of this particular book? If not, give your child's teacher a friendly call to learn the purpose for this choice. If you still aren't comfortable with your child reading this book, simply ask the teacher for another choice for your child.

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Additional Answers (8)

bob
bob , Parent writes:
It is an important story and, taught properly in the classroom, can be a good study for fourth grade.  But your question is asking for opinions and hopefully more people will chime in with theirs.

Mine is "yes" - that the book (properly taught and handled in the classroom) is appropriate for 4th grade.  I do think, however, that it would work better in 5th grade or later.

I asked my 11-year-old (5th grade) daughter this question and her answer was, "Yes, if the kid is somewhat mature, knows something about World War II, and takes things seriously.  It is a sad but serious book."
> 60 days ago

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L_Holden
L_Holden , Student, Child Professional, Caregiver writes:
The school systems have taken pains in the last decade to reform reading requirements to include topics that students can emotionally connect with. One of the biggest debates since the 90's has been about Reading history books of facts, or factual books about history. When a student reads The Diary of Anne Frank in high school, it is used to augment a history lesson. When a 9 year old reads it, they are at a cognitive stage where they can understand that the holocaust was bad, but they are begining to develop the capacity to think critically about it. Reading the personal story of Anne Frank is a great way to have young children feel a connection to a piece of history, while they learn to digest the socio-polictical implications of the time.
> 60 days ago

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BruceDeitrickPrice
BruceDeitri... , Teacher writes:
I instinctively side with you. There are plenty of years left for reading that book. I see so much literary pretension in the schools. Whom are the teachers trying to impress? Read the short books, the fun books. It'd be a rare young kid who asks to read this book. I suggest showing the child 6-8 good books and saying, "Pick the one you want to read." If a child demands Frank, okay, maybe that's all right. I'm not sure. But required?? Sounds compulsive to me. Ninth grade sounds about right, at the earliest! Still, I'm impressed your child is in a school where fourth  graders CAN read such a book. That's good news.

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soonermjh
soonermjh writes:
I read the book in my fourth grade class and it did not seem to affect me or any students around me in a negative manner. I believe the subject should be learned at an early age so children will understand the seriousness of subjects surrounding WWII and the Holocaust.
> 60 days ago

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cicerock
cicerock writes:
Well considering cable television today and it's lack of concern for what our kids see..most folks would say go ahead,personally because of some of the detail and sexual content I feel this is too much to impose on the minds of 4TH graders. There's plenty of time to learn tragedy later in their lives. I'm certainly not negating the importance of teaching children about the Holocaust and that we must never let that happen again. I would prefer my grandchildren wait a few years. Thanks June

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MacBridger5
MacBridger5 writes:
"The Diary of Anne Frank" is written as such that the reading level is appropriate for Accelerated Reader book level 3.1. That means that the reading itself is appropriate for the first moth of 3rd grade. Accelerated Reader also lists the book with an IL (Interest Level) of MG, which translates into grades 4-8.

In my personal opinion, grade 4 is a bit young for this book. The Holocaust is a heavy topic and 4th grade is a bit too soon for it. Also, Anne Frank was 13 when she began writing her diary. I feel it has more impact when read by children closer to that age as they can relate. They have a "This could be me" feel when reading the book. A 9 year old won't have the appreciation for this that an 11-13 year old will.
> 60 days ago

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TeacherandParent
TeacherandP... writes:
I've never before heard of this book being used in the 4th grade. I would agree with you that it's for older students. I'd also say that it's not uncommon for modern education to use the right books in the wrong grade. Modern kids are restless and teachers resort to 'shock value' - using books that stun kids to silence. I deplore this practice but I see it commonly done. My own son was assigned a book in the 7th grade that offered a graphic depiction of child abuse by a stepparent. To what avail?
Indeed my older son once asked me "Aren't there any books written that are happy books?"
What a sad lesson to have been taught in school? Is all literature painful and filled with nothing but sorrow? Why would schools want to send such a message?
In the old days Anne Frank's diary was read in high school - not 4th grade! Tell the teacher that "Letters to Rivka" is a much better choice for 4th grade.
> 60 days ago

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lyndabuckbee
lyndabuckbee writes:
Simply put. Why would a teacher present this book to 4th graders when it would benefit a older student much more. Too premature in my opinion. Save it for a couple of more years. There are many more books that about this subject that are more appropriate for that age group.
> 60 days ago

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