Are Required Reading Assignments Really Beneficial?

Are Required Reading Assignments Really Beneficial?

Katie Wiklund, Staff Writer

A common theme throughout high school English classes is that they all typically require reading one or more novels throughout the course of the school year. Students rarely enjoy these required assignments and so the question remains, do the pros of these readings truly outweigh their cons?

There are certainly some reasons as to why these assignments could be beneficial. Mainly, they force students to use important reading strategies to make inferences and connections to both other parts of the book and the modern-day world. Additionally, many of the novels assigned provide important life lessons that have a lot of influence on reader’s thought process. These books have been selected because they are often applicable to current issues and can inspire those who read it to find solutions to these problems. Furthermore, they are able to provide insights into other cultures that students would not be exposed to otherwise.

Though the benefits of reading assignments are clear, there are also massive disadvantages which are often overlooked. As a child who grew up absolutely adoring reading, most days I wanted nothing more than to crack into a good book! I loved being able to spend the day in a different universe, experiencing crazy journeys not possible in the real world. However, as I began to read books more for homework as opposed to pleasure, my original excitement slowly faded. Being forced to read books that I had no interest in took away the appeal of reading as a whole for me and for many others. The benefits of these assignments did not matter to me in the slightest, because I wasn’t reading to enjoy the book and learn from it. I was purely reading to get through it, complete the assignment, and forget it.

I believe it would be greatly beneficial for all students if instead of being assigned to read one particular book, they were presented with a list of books that they could choose from and read independently. English teachers could compile a list of about 20 books or so that they think provide good lessonsĀ and are enjoyable to read. At the beginning of each semester, each student could pick one or two books and work on a project related to said novels throughout the year. These could be projects as simple as putting together a slideshow about the author, the book they read, and their thoughts overall. This would be a good way to keep students interested in reading while still being able to learn valuable lessons.

Ultimately, I would say that required reading assignments as they are today are not as helpful as they could be. With some changes however, I believe that these assignments could become drastically more beneficial and enjoyable for both students and teachers alike.