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who reads required reading

Back in high school, did you ever find yourself caught in a lie when someone would ask, “did you actually read the book?” Kids would be made fun of for finishing all the summer reading. It’s time this negative connotation with reading stops.

High school students often enter college with a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to “the classics.” Let’s be honest, where would any of us be if it weren’t for Sparknote’s No Fear Shakespeare? Having to take a test or write an essay on a book can make any story seem daunting. So why then do teachers insist on teaching these classic novels?

The authors of the classics jam pack their novels with symbols and complex characters that all must be analyzed and criticized over and over again.

There must be books out there today with the same concepts as the classics but are a little more intriguing than the unrequited love of the 1500’s.

Certain books are definitely worth reading. I personally enjoyed The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin and although painfully slow at some parts, I was both happy and proud to have gotten through all of Jane Eyre. But what about those books that no matter how hard you tried, you just simply could not get through them without a little help from the internet? Those are the books that have got to go.

Here’s what I suggest: teachers should swap out the books they know are both out dated and equally as boring to teach as they are to read, and bring in some new contemporary books. Or perhaps have the students vote on two to three well written novels to add to the curriculum each year. These books should hold the same lessons and values as the books being swapped out but they will be told in a story that students actually want to read.

It’s time students stop groaning at the summer reading list, stop throwing required reading under their beds, and start to bring back the joy of reading. Let’s level the playing field between the “over achievers” and the “slackers” by having them choose the novel.

About Jodi Silberstein

I'm 20 years old studying journalism at the Ithaca College Roy H. Park School of Communication. When I'm not away at school, I live at home with my parents on the Jersey shore. I've been writing ever since my mom gave me my first journal for Hanukkah when I was six.


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