Adolescent literacy needs are now more than ever coming to the forefront of our society because of the fast-paced and literacy centered age human beings are currently in. As of right now adolescents are bombarded with material that is antiquated and lacks the necessary elements to create connections and foster reading among adolescents of any outlier when it comes to culture, class status, sexuality or ethnicity.
The literature in question is not diverse enough or modern enough to provide accurate morals, themes, and characters for inner city adolescents to attach themselves to and because of this adolescents reject the idea of finding something useful within academia, thus rejecting reading itself. This material includes the classics, books considered highly coveted by the English community and at large the world, works such as The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, and To Kill A Mockingbird. These novels while inspiring are limiting in terms of representation. Within all three texts the protagonists are white, heterosexual, and are in some capacity in control over the world they navigate.
The only time a character of ethnic background is employed within these texts it is within a marginalized capacity, this narrowing of diversity in all aspects of sexuality, gender, and ethnicity limit the accessibility to audience ratio. This becomes a major setback for students who are already struggling with reading because the lack of identification, and in most cases students of any minority will see the literature as a means of pointing out their own marginalization in society
In order to overcome this there must be a compromise within the world of literature. Teachers must recognize that to engage students in literature that have no commonality factors they must first sow the seed of the love of literature by using texts that individuals can connect with. The foundation must be built before buildings can rise and it is the same with the world of literacy. Once adolescents have been shown that there is diversity within literature and given the tools to engage orally and visually with the physical text then the classics used in traditional education will become accessible because students will be able to look at such pieces and see connections of themes and patterns.