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Facing our reading mandate

Forcing students to read books is not okay

Lily Durham

Staff Writer

September 23, 2021

Many know those dreaded moments in English class when the teacher announces a book that the class is going to read. These books never fail to make one hate reading. Whether that book was a classic read by many generations or a book that was written with the purpose to tell history, many did not enjoy them. For me, it was not until seventh grade when I was given the option to choose the book I wanted to read, that I started to love reading. I never realized the way reading can make you feel if you pick up the right book. Reading is something many more students would love to do if only the school would allow students to choose the book they read in English class.

Being forced to read a book is not a fun experience, it is like forcing someone to love something you love. A person does not walk into a bookstore or library and buy a book that does not interest them, so why should students have to read a book that does not intrigue them. Schools have made English class and reading a requirement to improve students’ ability to read and write, however, according to North American Montessori studies have shown that when kids read books that they are engaged in it can improve brain function. With improved brain functions, students can improve more on quizzes and tests over the book. That is a goal every school should have and strive to reach.

English classes are now so focused on the test, and AXES paragraphs that come with a book, many think reading now a chore and not the enjoyable experience it should be. According to former principal and teacher Valerie Strauss, “reading can become a habit through opportunities to read self-chosen books at school.” Reading a book you choose without the stress of the dreaded school work you know will come after is a much more enjoyable experience. This may encourage students to pick up more books outside of school, and read. When I was in intermittent school my teacher made it her goal to have us love reading. She gave us the option to choose any book, with no test, quizzes, or essays following the book. My love for reading was always there; I just needed someone to help me see it.

As students grow throughout their academic lives, more choices and opportunities grow as well. Giving students the option to pick a book to read in their English classes is a very small, yet effective way to have students enjoy school more. After all, we all have to read, we might as well enjoy it.

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