Happy Friday, everybody! I’m very excited for this week’s Let’s Talk Bookish, which is about required reading. Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly discussion post hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books, where each week there is a topic or question, and the participants write about their opinions on the topic. I’m very excited for this weeks topic, so here we go!
Required Reading: A punishment or a blessing in disguise?
It really depends. Required reading can be a way to discover new books, and discussing them with other people who’ve read the same book can be pretty fun. However, when the book is boring, or you have to analyze it in a certain way, or you have to write an essay about it, it starts to get less fun.
I just recently read a book in school; Shabanu, by Suzanne Fisher Staples, and I really enjoyed the book. However, it wasn’t fun to make lists of the not so challenging vocabulary, and to write paragraphs of my fairly nonexistent personal connections to the book. Now, I’m going to have to write and essay on the book, and while I love writing reviews, essays comparing and contrasting two characters and stuff like that isn’t the most fun way to write about a book.
How do you feel about required reading?
I know that for some people, they would never read if they didn’t have to for school, but I do wish that we had much more choice in the books we read. Usually, the entire class reads the same book, and with the last book I read in school, there were four books to choose from, but the teacher actually chose which book each student read, and I only got to fill out a form, so a lot of people didn’t even get their first choice.
I’d actually read two of the four books, so that was cool, but our discussions about the book weren’t actually very engaging, and most people in my group didn’t really want to discuss; they just wanted to read the rest of the book. So, overall, I guess I have very mixed feelings about required reading.
Do you think it is unfair, outdated, and boring?
I do think that required reading can be unfair, as a lot of the time the books that teachers choose aren’t very fun or entertaining, and not even educational. It is definitely not outdated, however, I just think that the systems of how required reading is chosen and decided on and all that could be much improved on.
For whether or not it is boring really depends on the book (how interesting it is, how well it is written…) and mostly, how the teacher is having the students discuss the book, and what the students have to do surrounding the book.
Do you think it helps us become better readers?
It can. Again, it really really depends. If its a good book, with interesting content, good writing and more new/more challenging vocabulary and a well thought out plot and characters, it can.
If it’s a meh book with meh educational stuff and meh content and meh writing and meh vocabulary and meh plot and meh characters, then well, the books going to be pretty meh. And a meh book is definitely one hundred percent not going to help us become better readers.
Is it a good way of getting students to read old classics?
Yes. Definitely. Especially literary fiction with difficult wording, and confusing plots. And Shakespeare, although I’m only in seventh grade and haven’t gotten to that yet. But there are many great books that would be read quite a bit less if they weren’t consistently assigned in schools.
Is it a good way of getting students to enjoy old classics? No. While for some people, (like me!) reading classics like To Kill a Mockingbird (which all of the eighth graders at my school read) or Pride and Prejudice (which I assume is coming sometime in high school) would be really fun! However, there are many kids who will grumble about having to read books like A Wrinkle in Time (that was in 5th grade, and then we had a field trip to see the movie which was not good).
What do you think about required reading! Is it a punishment? Or a blessing in disguise? Chat with me in the comments below!