This was published in IRA Inspire, sent out on the internet from the International Reading Association. It is very ironic that an IRA publication defends literature in this way, when the IRA has enthusiastically supported the standards movement and the LEARN act, which promise to wipe out this kind of literature teaching in favor of the approach that the "observer" in this classroom represents.
I Read It Because It’s Beautiful
by Karen Morrow Durica
Somehow a life without poetry seems…
So each day in my classroom I read…
An observer sat in my room one day…
Noted poem’s title
Recorded “lesson” sequence—
Said dryly: “It seems
There’s no connection curricular-wise…
No anticipatory set
No vocabulary drill
No comprehension query—
Do they know what it means?”
I could have contrived a defense or two, but…
Spirits flowed with peaceful joy
Simple truth explained—
“I read it because it’s beautiful,” I said.
She didn’t quite frown but recalled all the same, “We’ve…
Standards to meet
Timelines to keep
Pages to cover—
Important content to be read.”
I looked from her to my students’ gaze; they…
Had relished the words
Danced with the rhythm
Mused with the meaning—
Were richer in spirit than when we began.
I read it because it was beautiful. And beauty is…
Always in my “lesson” plan.