Once upon a time, in the long ago world of high school reading, Holden Caulfield was perhaps the epitome of angst: a young man suddenly an outcast in the world he thought he knew. The antihero of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye was about to enter a perilous journey of self-discovery.
Fast forward to high school reading today, and you might find that a lot of high school English teachers are identifying with Holden more than their students are identifying with him. Reading scores for American students have dropped dramatically, and the solution could see their world change as well.
"So many kids, often as many as 50 percent, graduate high school ... demonstrably not ready for the demands of a first-year college course or job-training program," says David Coleman, president of the College Board, a nonprofit membership organization that administers standardized tests like the SAT.