(When I was a young reader, my grandparents bought many retold versions of popular classic for us to practice our reading.)
I was familiar with the retold series or simplified texts which provide a step-by-step approach to the joys of reading for pleasure and a wide variety of enjoyable reading material for all learners of English. Those retold versions of popular classic and contemporary titles, as well as specially written stories, published at five or six levels such as from the beginner to the Upper. About 300 or 600 basic words for the beginner and about 2500 to 3000 words for the Upper or Advanced. When I was a young reader, my grandparents bought many retold versions of popular classic for us to practice our reading. They also explained some difficult words in the story. So, we understood the story very easily. My grandparents said those series would one day turn our desire to read the original novels and improve our reading skill. I did not understand at that time what it meant. But the more I read them, the more I wanted to read the original novel.
(Compare with only 36 pages of retold version of ‘Three Musketeers’ and the original version 550 pages.)
As my grandparents said, my interest turned to read the original novel. I was not satisfied myself in reading retold series any more. I felt that some facts were missing in the retold versions. I wanted to find out in the original. I also wanted to read the original writings of the authors. I tried to read the original novel though it was difficult to read. I became understand that those series were especially for young book-readers to introduce the original books. No young reader dared to read the original book at the beginning. Yes, see… the original book ‘Three Musketeers’ of Alexandre Dumas is a very hard and heavy story. The words and the phrases in the book are difficult to read. Without the explanations or guidance, it was hard to understand. Because of the retold versions or simplified texts, we became familiar with the famous novels or classic and one day we were not afraid to read the original novel.
The Choice of Next Generation!
I did not understand the young book-reader of this modern day. They were different from us. One day I met a young reader who said to me his experience of reading retold series. He said after reading the ‘retold version’ of the famous novel, he had low impression on the story. He thought that the story was uninteresting. There was no particular fact he found in the story. He also said that before he read this ‘retold version’, he thought that Charles Dickens was a very remarkable writer as the scholar praised. But after reading it’s retold, he remarked that Charles Dickens was not such a great writer to him. So, he believed that he did not need to read its original. This retold version is enough for him. I was amazed for what he remarked. I asked him which of ‘retold version’ he talked about. He replied, ‘Great Expectation.’ Oh! I was surprised to hear that! After he read the retold of ‘Great Expectation’, he felt that it was just a usual story as everybody could write. For him, the retold version could not arouse his curiosity or his interest to read the original. I had never thought like him before. It was a very amazing statement that I had ever seen. I did not know how to explain. If my grandparents were still alive, what would they say to him when they heard his unhappy remark on their favorite writer, Charles Dickens!