The Jefferson Public School Board is considering adding Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry to the list of books taught in 7th grade classes at Jefferson Junior High. While many school board members support this addition, several have voiced concerns about the choice. Write a detailed, organized essay to persuade the school board to add Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry to its 7th grade reading list, or to remove it from consideration. Provide specific evidence or examples to support your opinion.
Reading can offer people the opportunity to meet new kinds of people and explore exciting places. Reading can also teach students about important people, events, or times in history. Even fiction books can sometimes show realistic topics that can make someone want to find out more about them. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a great example of a book that is interesting to students and can help them learn more about history. The Jefferson Public School Board should add this book to its 7th grade reading list because it teaches important lessons, students won’t want to put the book down, and showing respect to all people is a major theme of the book. Even though some people might worry about some of the language or topics in the book, these things can actually add to the lesson students learn from reading it.
First, students can learn a lot of important lessons from reading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. I know this from personal experience. Before I read the book, I didn’t know anything about the Great Depression or sharecropping. I did some research to help me understand a little more about what the characters were going through, so now I know more about that time in history. Some people might be unsure about his book because it has some offensive language in it and some of the things that happen are very violent, but the lessons learned from it outweigh these concerns. For example, the book teaches important lessons about prejudice and the way that we should treat one another. My classmates and I have learned that you should never judge a person before getting to know him or her, and now we think more about what we say and whether or not our comments might be hurtful. It is important for students to learn about different people and experiences. This is a book that students look forward to reading, and it also helps students learn about many important things.
Second, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a book that students enjoy reading. Students learn more when they are interested in what they are reading. For example, I remember more details about the science chapters that interest me. When I find a topic that I think is cool, I usually try to find out more about it on my own instead of just on the assignments my teacher gives me. This book will make both teachers and students happy because students will be more interested and motivated to complete assignments. Some people might think that students aren’t responsible enough to have a say in what they study, but the school board should consider what students think when picking out a new book. This is the type of book that students won’t want to put down because they will want to know what is going to happen next! Both students and teachers will accomplish more if students like the book they are reading.
Third, and most importantly, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry deals with the issue of respect, which is important for junior high students to talk about. In the book, many people suffer because they are treated with less respect than they deserve. For example, even though Cassie’s family owns their own land, they are treated with less respect because they aren’t white. This teaches students a valuable lesson about how important it is to be tolerant, open-minded, and respectful, which is an important part of growing up into mature adults. Some might argue that there are other ways to teach this lesson, but this book has powerful examples that really make students think about how they treat others, instead of just talking about it. The school board could benefit because if students show one another more respect, that will help reduce conflicts at school.
Finally, the school board should feel good about adding this book to the 7th grade reading list. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry will be interesting to students and will help them learn more about history and respect for all people. Although the language and events in the book can be shocking, they can be easily explained and are important to the lessons that students learn from the book. As I have pointed out, there are more positive reasons for teaching the book than reasons against it. If the school board is looking for a book that will make students excited about reading, then Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is the best choice.