When I was a kid I hated reading Edgar Allen Poe, and Machiavelli, and all the other “classics” we had to read. Yet I used to sit at home for entire evenings reading science books about the universe, physics, the human body, etc. Even today my bookshelves are filled with books on science and technology. There’s only one novel, an old leather-bound copy of “A Christmas Carol”.
17 years at a college taught me how abysmal the writing and reading comprehension skills are in far too many high school graduates. There are far too many teachers who simply follow the program blindly. And far too many administrators focused on teaching students what to think rather than how to think. I cannot tell you how great it is to hear from a teacher who actually cares and is looking for something that will motivate the student.
To this day I cannot tell you how little I care about dangling a participle (whatever that is). And I routinely start sentences with conjunctions. But I think I’m fairly articulate and able to communicate a point better than many. And my reading comprehension ain’t bad either. I got these skills largely by deeply studying the stuff that I loved, not from “The Pit and The Pendulum”. No disrespect to those who love novels. Reading skills can be honed by many different types of writing. English Lit majors probably would all be marginally literate if they were forced to read only technical books, much as I probably not be literate if I’d been forced to read only the “classics”.
Just an aside; during my last years in academia I kept a copy of “The Price” prominently displayed on my desk, just as a private joke/comment on the unadulterated politics in the college administration. Very, very few people actually noticed. I suspect that very few actually knew what the subject of the book was.