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August 23, 2015

Discussion: Having to Read Books for School

I start school on September 8th. When I walk into my English class on the first day of school, I will be handed a syllabus with the list of books we are going to be reading for that year. I love reading and it is my biggest passion and hobby, but I hate when I am forced to read a book. If it's a friend pushing or "forcing" me to read one of their favorites, that's one thing. But I hate being forced to read a book I do not have the slightest interest in reading. 

For some of my English classes throughout the years, the teachers have allowed the students to pick any book they wanted to read and do a project on as long as it pertained to their reading level. I really enjoyed that project because I got to read a book that I was really interested in and then I got to spend my time on a project for a book that I actually enjoyed. Being forced to read a book I am not the slightest bit interested in and then having to do a paper or project on it takes away all of the fun that reading should be.

It may sound like I hate all of the books I am assigned to read but that's not true. I have enjoyed the following: 


To Kill a Mockingbird
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Watsons Go To Birmingham
The Outsiders

But there have also been plenty of books/short stories required for school that I've really hated. As an avid reader, after finishing a book I really disliked, I will go and pick up one I think I'll really enjoy. Reading a book I really disliked won't turn me away from reading other books. I know that there are much better books out there to be read. But for some kids in my school, who don't like to read, they may be totally put off from the idea of reading because they don't enjoy the books they are reading for school and they don't find them to be interesting. Then, when we've been able to pick out our books for the project, I've seen those same kids love the books they chose and I see them enjoying their reading experience. Just so you know, these kids were picking out books that pertained to their reading level. The teacher had to approve of their books before they could start reading.

I understand that some of the books we are forced to read are very important in our culture but I also believe that kids should have more freedom with the books they read. This doesn't mean they have to be picking every book they read, but why not allow them to at least pick 1 or 2? I just think that if a teacher forces books on children that they know are not interesting them, many kids will be put off from the idea of reading for fun and reading outside of school. Yes, I do understand that some of these books must be taught and must be included in the school curriculum but I do think giving a child some freedom to pick the books they read is important as well. 

I know that some kids love all of the books that they are supposed to read for school so this is why I made this a discussion post. I would love to hear your guys' feedback on this topic. Maybe you have a totally different opinion than me and I would love to see a different light added to this conversation.

What are your thoughts on required reading? Which books have you enjoyed? Any you haven't? Do you think kids should have some freedom choosing the books they read?

2 comments:

  1. i start school on september the eighth too! and i know there are still two more weeks but NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO IT. good thing is that the first day is always a half day which is so nice. i can leave at 11 and just go for lunch with my friends.

    as for required reading i have not always been the best with this. i tend to put off reading the book until the VERY VERY last minute like this year when i read the assigned book the day before my english exam and finished it an hour before. YEAH I'M JUST SO GOOD LIKE THAT. but it's just because i suck at reading books in general and i suck even more when it's a book i'm forced to read on a schedule. even with books i get to choose i'm not always the best with that. in ninth grade i picked the night circus to read and that was a success for once but then i also picked rebecca which was SO good but i didn't end up finishing because major laziness.

    but there have been times when reading books for school was a good thing. like eighth grade was so much fun for me just becasue we explored poems and short stories that i really really enjoyed that i would never have discovered otherwise and we had some great discussions so that was really fun. but there have only been a handful of books i've read for school that i like a lot. brave new world would be one and richard the third would be the other. the other books have been average or really bad. like cat's cradle was pretty ok, very readable but also super bizarre. not a favourite. and then things fall apart was a rung below that and the book i read this year for my english exam, fifth business, was just UGH. the exact kind of book that doesn't make me excited to read more canadian literature if canadian literature means BORING AND DULL.

    hopefully this year goes better! i know we're reading picture of dorian gray and i haven't read any oscar wilde as of yet so i don't know what to think? but hopefully i like it

    really interesting post jacquelyn!

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    Replies
    1. Good luck at your first day! We used to have half days in elementary school but in high school we have a full first day.

      I usually don't want until the last minute but that's another thing, it's always hanging over my head and that puts even more pressure on me. I am also attaching negative thoughts to that book because of that.

      I agree with it sometimes being a good thing. I love learning the history behind some of the most famous novels and it's always great to have a class and a teacher there to explain something if you don't understand it.

      Thanks so much, Annie!

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