August 21, 2015

Required Reading and Why It Hurts My Soul

By required reading I mean school required reading. Reading that is required by school tends to really upset me, and I get very worked up thinking about it. 

I have read one book, one book (okay update - two books), in my 10 years of education that I  enjoyed. The only reason I even enjoyed the book was because the ending was really powerful, the book itself was very weird at times. So, to recap, out of all the books I've been forced to read I enjoyed one. (two! Sorry, the summer reading I just did was very interesting!) 

Maybe if kids across the country weren't being forced to read books there would be more kids who enjoyed reading. I cannot tell you how many kids I've spoken to who say they "hate reading" yet have never read anything outside of the schools required reading. Maybe thats why they hate it. This is what required reading is doing to kids, its making them hate reading. Reading could be something they might love, but they will never know. Many kids in my grade may never know what its like to pick up a book and read for pleasure. The sole reason for this is because our education system is failing us. Our education system that is making kids hate reading instead of encouraging it. This saddens and angers me, especially because I see this every day during the school year. People getting turned off by literature thanks to the schools mandatory reading. 

So I ask again, why do I have to read a boring book to be taught a lesson that I could easily learn from an interesting, captivating, novel. Why am I subjected to analyzing boring literature, when I could be taught more and be enjoying myself more with current literature.

The education system is failing me, and its failing my classmates. It truly saddens me to see people turned away from reading because of an education filled with people forcing books on them  that did nothing but convince them they hated reading. 

EDIT: After re-reading this post a couple times and reading the comments (which I wholeheartedly agree with), I realize I think I would have enjoyed so many of these books if they had not been forced on me. There are rich aspects of culture, and writing styles that can no longer be found in todays books and if they weren't forced on me I think I would have enjoyed them so much more. Even though I find the books I have to read for school very "bleh" I would like to say I am able to appreciate the literature and the impact they have had on our culture. When I was writing this post I was thinking about how angry I was that required reading has turned so many of my friends off to reading, and I was also being completely ignorant when I wasn't acknowledging the importance of required reading. 

8 comments:

  1. I think I'm going to disagree with you on some points here...As someone who has always LOVED reading, I have always grabbed whatever I could get my hands on. And, yes, I enjoyed the books I read for myself waaaay more than the books I was required to read in school. But I also know the immense value those pieces of "boring literature" has on our culture and has had on our history. The things that we study in school English classes are studied for a reason.

    To me, I think the problem doesn't lay with the classics that are required, but from the fact that books are required at all. That sounds awful typing that...I don't mean that books shouldn't be required. Because they need to be. But when books are forced on me, there's a much larger chance I won't like it. If I read the same book on my own, however, things would probably be different.

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    1. Yes!! I agree with you! I was very ignorant when writing this post and after I read the comments I realized I was ignoring the importance of required reading. I have had bad experiences with it, I do not enjoy it, everyone in my grade (including me) complains about it all the time, and I haven't had the greatest english teachers. But, I do appreciate the culture in classic literature and for me to just blindly hate all required reading without even thinking of the implications it's had on our culture is so stupid of me.

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  2. I totally agree that mandatory reading is awful, but I have to disagree with some points that you said. While there are some literature that are incredibly boring, the reason why we're required to read them is because they introduce topics, historical aspects, and cultural aspects that are no longer present in today's books.

    For instance, Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen's writing style can no longer be found in any book today because of the fact she was born in the 1800s. That's what makes classical literature unique! :) Her books give a little insight on people's behavior during the Victorian Era, so schools are obviously trying to re-introduce old culture so people may not let them slip away and be forgotten. Old books and classics still need to be appreciated because YA books today don't have them :)

    I do understand your point. I really do. But "old and boring" literature books are worth appreciating too ^_^

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

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    1. Honestly, I agree with you. When I was writing this I was just thinking about how school reading has turned so many of my friends off to reading, and how angry that made me. I wasn’t even considering the cultural aspects or appreciating the books. So thank you for mentioning this because it never even crossed my mind (quite ignorant of me actually...eeek sorry!) I've added an edit to this post because after reading the comments I was like YES! I AGREE WITH YOU ALL even though my post is saying a completely different thing.

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  3. Books that are required reading are not necessarily horrible or boring. They're MADE horrible and boring the moment people FORCE you to read them. I actually love reading classics now, but when I was in school I hated reading them, and I thought exactly like you. Teachers actually make some sense in trying to get students into reading the things they study (characterisation, writing, all that you mentioned). I some way, it's like... experimenting. You study the theory in classes but you don't know if it's true until you see it for yourself with an experiement. I have to say, though, that reading should not be required at all. One of the consequences of that is actually more kids hating reading.

    Vane at Books With Chemistry

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    1. Yeah, after reading the comments I realized that I was being very ignorant in just blindly disliking these books. Half the reason I dislike them is probably because I don't like getting books forced on me and the other half is probably because I just don't seem to enjoy classics. I do appreciate them though. I've had a slew of bad english teachers throughout the years, who do almost nothing except shove books in our hands and then give us huge multiple choice tests so I've had to practically teach myself.

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  4. Well, as an advanced level Lit Student, I understand what you said above. The thing is, I think we somehow end up disliking a book - even if it's actually a great read - just because we're obligated to do it. And then there's also the fact that we analyse the book deeply. I think half the pleasure of reading the book is taken away from the fact that we have to carefully pay attention to each line, interpret things, find hidden meanings and worst all, memorise lines!

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  5. Keep up the exceptional work !! Lovin' it!

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