Exposing kids to classics: Good readers challenged in program at Knox College

From the Register Mail:

The 15 students sat in a semicircle in Room 203 of Knox College’s George Davis Hall on a recent Tuesday, discussing whether a jobless man should steal rice to feed his family, a serious moral dilemma.

Then, they pulled out pencils and began to draw a scene from the Japanese folk tale, sketching curtained windows and stick-figure store owners.

As part of the Knox Junior Great Books program, a select group of “highly able” children in first through fifth grades meets weekly to read a story and discuss questions it raises. Students do not need to prove any sort of academic ability to enter the program, but most read at or above their grade levels.

Jason Helfer, assistant professor of educational studies at Knox, says the local program is an offshoot of a nationwide program to provide additional enrichment for children.