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Why on earth is my nine year old studying Wuthering Heights?

(26 Posts)
AChickenCalledKorma Mon 01-Jun-15 18:18:38

DD2 is in Year 5. She's finding guided reading very boring at the moment. Apparently they are reading Wuthering Heights - have been for weeks - and won't move on until they've got to the end.

Even allowing for the fact they are probably reading an abridged version, why on earth are 9 year olds reading something like this when there is so much fantastic, engaging and challenging literature that's actually written for their age group?

Is this a Gove thing? Or are her teachers just having a bit of a weird moment?!

TheTroubleWithAngels Mon 01-Jun-15 18:22:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheTroubleWithAngels Mon 01-Jun-15 18:24:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrz Mon 01-Jun-15 18:47:25

Nothing to do with Gove down to the books the school

mrz Mon 01-Jun-15 18:49:43

Oh and the books have been adapted for the age of the readers.

TheMotherOfAllDilemmas Mon 01-Jun-15 18:52:52

I confess that my only opportunity to get him interested in the classics was to introduce an interpretation of greek mythology by Anthony Horowitz.

I read most of Shakespeare works by 14, just because I got interested in them, and read the full version of Wuthering Heights when I was about the same age as your DD.

spanieleyes Mon 01-Jun-15 18:53:26

What's wrong with Wuthering Heights? Some of my year 5's have read and enjoyed the original version, Jayne Eyre is a definite favourite too!

TheMotherOfAllDilemmas Mon 01-Jun-15 18:53:26

I would have been delighted if DS' school had given him that to read at that age, instead it was all kid spies abd whimpy kids.

theroundball Mon 01-Jun-15 18:55:07

Tell her to think herself lucky. We covered The Hobbit at her age. That really was boring!

fourchetteoff Mon 01-Jun-15 18:55:46

I don't think it's the best book in the world for that age group.
I read it around that age, and remember being pretty uncomprehending about the violence, madness and sex in the book. The themes are really adult for kids to understand.

I think there is a happy medium with the classics. There are plenty of wonderful books that could be abridged brilliantly for that age group.

mrz Mon 01-Jun-15 19:00:29

If it's the ORT version it isn't abridged it's adapted for young children ...a subtle difference

AChickenCalledKorma Mon 01-Jun-15 19:02:46

I was trying to express why I don't think it's appropriate, but fourchetteoff has done it for me. I have no problem with them tackling more complex material, but the themes in Wuthering Heights are pretty adult.

I fundamentally don't understand why it is felt that children of her age should tackle adult stories about issues that are way outside their experience, when there is so much brilliant literature that is massively more age appropriate.

And I don't mean Wimpy Kids or spies. There is a huge middle ground of really good quality children's literature, that doesn't need abridging or interpreting for a nine-year-old's mind.

spanieleyes Mon 01-Jun-15 19:03:19

Oh No, we have just done The Hobbit, but just the abridged version. They din't appear bored, I imagined their eyes were closed in contemplation but I suppose it might have been boredom confused

AChickenCalledKorma Mon 01-Jun-15 19:04:37

Yes, DD2 tells me that it's the ORT version (she recognises the cover). But I still don't understand why they are reading something that needs adapting for their age group when they could be reading something brilliant that was written for their age group in the first place.

(Also, even as a teenager I personally found WH dull and monotonous ... so I appreciate my prejudices are showing!)

fourchetteoff Mon 01-Jun-15 19:10:26

AChicken - would be interested to know how they deal with Heathcliffe and how violent he is. It's pretty strong stuff.

Personally, I loved The Hobbit, A Little Princess, The Railway Children, Any Roald Dahl, Anne of Green Gables etc at that age. They all deal with death and their own form of horrors, but are age appropriate and 'classics' in their own way. I'm trying to think it Jane Eyre would be appropriate, but I think that having Bertha locked up for madness in the attic means that it's a bit much still.

Muskey Mon 01-Jun-15 19:14:05

Withering heights is one of the few classics that I never finished. It was all the writing in dialect that got on my nerves. I think it might have something to do with preparing the kids for sats as I believe over the last couple of years classical texts have been included and the poor dc haven't a clue how to understand it or answer questions about it. I am all for reading the classics but I do think WH is a difficult text given the adult content. A few months ago I was asking the same question about Jane eyre (which I love) and its appropriateness for my dd in year 6

PerspicaciaTick Mon 01-Jun-15 19:25:04

I don't understand why OTT have bothered to bowdlerise classics like Wuthering Heights. If you have to hide the main themes to make a book comprehensible and age appropriate, then why not choose a different book?
In fact it makes me really cross. Classes of children thinking they "know" Wuthering Heights because they read it as a 8/9/10/11 year old. Thinking it is boring and uninspiring, not bothering to reread as they become adults, and not realising that the adaption they read was just a pale imitation of the original.

ppolly Mon 01-Jun-15 20:41:00

I'm afraid there are quite a few of those adapted classics at the upper end of ORT. I don't like them at all. There are so many fabulous children's books to read, why give them a watered down version of a grown-up one?
I have used the first chapter of Jane Eyre for a year 6 MAT group in the past, which they loved, but they were an exception.

TwartFaceBeetj Mon 01-Jun-15 20:51:01


Got Kate Bush stuck in my head now


DiamondAge Mon 01-Jun-15 21:40:04

This is what the publisher says:
These children's classics have been sensitively adapted to enrich your junior pupils' reading. They are part of a structured reading programme for juniors from Oxford Reading Tree, Levels 9-16. They have masses of boy and girl appeal and will introduce your readers to significant authors from the past - a key part of the Literacy Strategy.

Each book features two author biographies - one for the original author and one for the TreeTops author. In addition each book includes comprehension questions and teaching notes to help draw out and practice difficult comprehension strategies such as inference, empathy and deduction. There are also notes to help with historical and social context and any challenging vocabulary, ensuring the books are easily accessible.

Plus, in the case of Wuthering Heights, you get all of that in 104 pages - the appeal to teachers is obvious (if not universal)!

Personally I have nothing against adapted classics. DD loves the Andrew Matthews Shakespeare adaptations & regularly re-reads them. I don't think doing so will inhibit her enjoyment & appreciation of Shakespeare as she grows up any more than it would for her to see one of his adapted-for-children plays performed at our local National Trust venue.

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 02-Jun-15 22:01:03

Update: DD tells me they have abandoned Wuthering Heights because they were finding it so boring and are now reading the Secret Garden.

Chicken looks nervously over shoulder and tries to decide which of you is DD's literacy teacher


Pumpkinette Wed 03-Jun-15 09:46:34

I'm glad they have abandoned it for something a bit more exciting. I found Wuthering Heights boring as an adult so I can't see why anyone would think it would appeal to your average 9 year old. It's all a bit adult, I imagine even the adapted version would still have focus on the main theme of the book. What 9 year old really wants to read a love / every one dies type of story?

At least the secret garden has characters that are around the same age as them so it will be more appealing to read.

PerspicaciaTick Wed 03-Jun-15 13:58:18

The teacher seems very keen on Victorian gothic mansions in Yorkshire, brooding widowers, secret relatives and orphans.

AChickenCalledKorma Wed 03-Jun-15 18:47:58

LOL - she does, doesn't she! She might well be responding to the mood of a rather melodramatic class!

SayThisOnlyOnce Mon 08-Jun-15 06:56:33

Gawd I HATED WH. Glad your DD is no longer suffering it!

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