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Letters: Fiction vs. nonfiction

December 30, 2012

Re “What students read,” Editorial, Dec. 27

It's a mistake to believe that fiction is intrinsically superior to nonfiction. The ideas expressed in great speeches over the years, for example, hold their own against the classics because they speak eternal truths about the human condition.

William Faulkner emphasized his faith in the future (“I decline to accept the end of man”) and Franklin D. Roosevelt comforted a frightened nation (“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”).

Students need to be exposed to all forms of expression in order to develop their ability to think critically. Relying disproportionately on any one does them a distinct disservice.

Walt Gardner
Los Angeles

Would you like the perspective from our students? My son is a high achiever. He has high grades, takes AP classes and has already been accepted by the colleges to which he applied.

He and his friends call our system of education the “cram and drop method.” They cram as much information into their brains as they can so they can ace the test, then quickly drop everything from their memory so they can cram the next bit of information for the next test.

They are so overwhelmed with tests and essays that they have no time to absorb anything, let alone develop critical thinking or a love of learning. Good job, education experts.

Wendy Velasco
Whittier

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