Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tainted by Required Reading

Used to be, I loved to read. Absolutely adored it.

Then, I went to a school where you were required to read certain books (usually at least seven)
over the summer.

I understand "Summer reading" - really, I do, but assign one or two books maximum. Half the point of summer reading is to keep students actively involved in learning by excerising their brain. The problem is, if you assign seven or more full length novels during a two and a half month time span, that leaves no time for students (who actually enjoy reading) to creatively and uniquely exercise their brain by picking out books they want to read. That was high school for me - reading essentially stopped. There was no time to read during the school year between class, homework, extra curriculars and some socializing. There was no time to read what I wanted during the summer because I had seven other books to be reading.

Now I'm in college. Freshman year, I thought, "Great, now I'll get to read for pleasure again." Not so. When you have over 100 pages of textbook reading, which is (usually) the most boring type of reading out there, a night in addition to the rest of the assignments you have to complete, you still don't have time to read. If I wasn't in class, I was doing homework. If I wasn't doing either of those, it was a club or organizational meeting. If, by any chance I wasn't preoccupied with those activities, I had work. When was I going to be able to pick up a book again?!

You learn. I carry a book with me during the school year. Most days, I only get through a page or two, but (loving reading as I do) I'll take what I can get. I get to class three minutes early, I pull out my book and read. I've got an additional office job this year - my downtime will be spent doing homework, studying, writing, and (you guessed it) reading.

I have been tainted by required reading. I do not read nearly as much as I used to; however, there are some amazing books that I probably never would have read if it weren't for required reading. Great books I've read through forced reading: Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Brave New World by Aldous Hexley, and The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde - just to name a few.

If you love reading and happen to still be in school. Every required reading assignment you recieve, look at it as an opportunity to discover an amazing book that you might not have picked up off the shelf otherwise. Will it always turn out to be an impressive piece of literature? Of course not, but the potential is always there.


  1. This is so true. College and school destroyed my love for reading. I just now finished a book three years after leaving. -___-

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