Book Discussions – Forcing Literature in Schools

book descussions

Forcing Literature in Schools

Should Students be forced to read books they don’t enjoy for school?

I was a lucky student in my high school I mostly enjoyed all the books that I was forced to read in school, There were only two that I didn’t like and I still have never finished reading.

I have always been a reader, so reading in school wasn’t a chore for me, I got to discover some great stories such as Hatchet, The Call of the wild, Tomorrow when the War began and Romeo and Juliet.  Unfortunately I had to also read Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby.

My opinion on this topic is that no one should be forced to read books they are not interested in.  I believe that there is a book out there for everyone, forcing someone to read a book they don’t like could be more harmful than productive, such as I love classic novels but I wont read another Jane Austin book because my concentration levels as well as maturity was not high enough to understand what I was reading and what it meant.  I think at my age now I would be able to sit and read classics now, because I want to not because I have to.

The pressure was just too high in school for me to sit and really focus on the words as well as deciphering the language they spoke.

What do you think?  Did you enjoy the stories you had to read in school?

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8 thoughts on “Book Discussions – Forcing Literature in Schools

  1. Required reading in school was the bane of my existence. I was such a slow reader that the added pressure of book reports and tests made what I could read in time mean nothing to me. I had no idea reading could be fun until many years later. Classics are important, but appealing to the individual reader at her level creates a book lover. I love this post, Jodie!

    • Thanks Robyn, I was always jealous of my classmates with different teachers, they would get to read the books that I wanted to read and I would get stuck with books that I don’t want to read. Then again the grass is always greener. I agree that classics are important but forcing someone to read above their level or understanding, which lots of the classics are, is definitely not appealing.

  2. Sadly yes I do, but it should be a blend of contemporary and classics, and reader’s choice. Without it you may never have been exposed to them, and while Jane might not have been your thing..for many it was our first intro to this author. A good teacher using good methods can bring these books and time periods to life.

    • I think I would enjoy Jane now I am older, but I remember my friends reading books I wouldn’t mind reading while I was stuck trying to decifer Jane. And I agree with teaching methods playing a part we would take turns reading aloud and the slower readers would frustrate me and I would tune out. Thanks for your points.

  3. Like you, I enjoyed most of the books I read for school, but not all. Ethan Frome springs to mind. Annoyingly, if these books were required summer reading, often the teacher wouldn’t bother to discuss them because he didn’t like them either. Needless to say, I felt cheated that I had been forced to read books (which I often read twice, since I assumed they would be discussed or tested), that the teacher tossed out on a personal whim.

    That said, required reading has perks, and I never resented that it existed–only that the teachers apparently couldn’t be bothered with their own assignments. Required reading introduces students to books they might not have picked up on their own (with the possibility they’ll find books they do like) and it introduces students to books that society has in some way decided are important or valuable. On a practical level, the students in a class really need to have all read the same thing in order for their to be any intellectual discussion about it. Or for teachers to have some way of grading their tests, essays, presentations, etc. on the book.

    Personally, I would advocate a school program that had a mix of required reading and reading that students choose on their own. Again, the second would take some work. Teachers couldn’t really grade essays or tests on books they haven’t read, and if they let students read anything, they are going to come across some books. But it may be possible to have a program where students submit informal book reports on books they’ve read for fun. Also, I think schools need to emphasize a lot more that “classics” isn’t a genre. Classics can include romance, historical fiction, mysteries, fantasy, science fiction, etc. So it’s possible for any student to find some classics they love, even if they don’t like every assigned book.

  4. I had an automatic block up against the books that we were required to read. I’m not sure I enjoyed more than one or two and since I was in advanced English Literature classes, I was required to read numerous books. I only enjoy stories if there is a magical element which you don’t find in the reading lists so almost all of them were boring to me. I didn’t have to read Pride and Prejudice in school though, and it’s one of the only classics that I do love. I’m sorry that you don’t feel the same 😀 Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven.

    • We got to read one book we could pick ourselves and I picked Flowers in the attic, now that was a hard book report to write I had no idea on how to handle the “love scenes.” I think when you put lots of pressure on someone to read and analyse a book It becomes, job and a assignment and it takes the Joy out of reading. at least with my reviews now, I can write what I feel and not worry about the right format, sources, quotes ect. I will have to give P&P another go since so many of my blogger friends are telling me it is good.

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