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Editorial: Assigning novels kills the fun

Angelina Memmi, Reporter

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Hundreds of high schoolers sigh as they remember that they must read chapter two for Tuesday. However, many don’t realize this assigned book isn’t just for a graded essay.

Assigning readings to students can have a negative impact on their understanding and opinions on books.  

Every year, high school students must read various classic stories over the summer and then be graded for it once school returns. Some students will get the reading done at the start of June, while others hurriedly skim the pages at the end of August.

Assigning books for students to read helps teachers grade reading comprehension and analyses of the stories. However, these books impact more than just grades.

At the start of each school year, first impressions are being made by everyone. Teachers discern which students are more responsible based on who read the book. If students walk into class with detailed notes and a good knowledge of the story, the teacher can see that they have a better work ethic than those who don’t. Many people hold onto their first impressions of others, and the assigned readings allow responsible students to make good ones.

The assigned stories also give students a chance to read a book they may not have chosen beforehand. Students will explore new genres and writing techniques, and learn information in the process. It is never bad to try something new…

Unless they end up hating the book.

Assigned readings can lead students away from reading. If they think the story is terrible, they won’t want to touch another one again any time soon. Because students are being graded on these readings, it is recommended that they take notes and fully focus on the story. However, this makes the book feel more like a tedious chore rather than just a reading assignment. Students will dread reading it or rush through the story, which results in a less deep understanding of the text.

A Washington Post article includes a video of why students end up not completing their assigned readings. Most of them say they were not interested in the books, but they would use notes online and peers to pass the essays and discussions.

The students just skimmed information of the book to pass the test, which defeats the purpose of assigned readings.

Even many book-lovers don’t enjoy assigned readings since they have to focus on every detail that may be important rather than getting immersed in the story.

Assigned readings are worse in the summer. A lot of students will want to enjoy their break, not spend their laidback time with another assignment.

It is expected that assigned books will continue for a long time, but some changes could be made so students have a more beneficial outcome. A poll could be made each year to determine a classic novel students want to read. The majority will be able to read a book they are looking forward to reading.

If some changes are made, assigned books will feel less like assignments.   

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Editorial: Assigning novels kills the fun