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
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?