The impact and outlook of required reading in school

“You are all required to have the book Things Fall Apart by next week Wednesday. We will start reading that book for our next unit; I have the reading schedule of what you are supposed to read by each night.”

Last year, that is what my English teacher said to the class before we left. Ever since I can remember, required reading has been a component of all English classes. I have struggled with compelling myself to read books I am forced to read for school. The taste and contents of the books are stale and do not catch my attention. The fact that it is required for school compels me not to want to read it.

When I was younger, I had read my first word at four, and I had been able to read books at the ripe age of five. My mind comprehended a wide variety of books as a child. The enjoyment I had for reading lasted until the required reading of books for school. That is when the rush and happiness I got from reading diminished. 

Once I entered high school, that is when required reading made its appearance in English class curriculums. When I started to struggle to read, my main problem was staying engaged and informed on what I was reading for school. Teachers would make reading schedules, assignments, projects, quizzes, and tests based on a required reading book unit. 

On top of solely finishing chapters, I knew I had to take notes on each chapter, look for the figurative language, know what questions to answer for a discussion the next day in class, and discover the book’s meaning. I felt like I was drowning in assignments, and it was challenging to keep up and engage. 

As I grew up and got older—especially taking Honors and AP English classes—the more challenging required reading I had to complete, the less engaged I became. Eventually, I got sloppy; I did not adhere to taking notes, and I did not place my insight on anything I read when we talked about it in class. 

The practice of knowing that I had increased required reading each year of high school made me fizzle out on reading in general. 

Once I became a junior last year, any compelling forces to read disappeared completely, and I did not want to even read on my own time or read my own book for Book Love in school. For me, I found out that the required reading in school had created a disliking for reading. I had no insight that something like this would happen to me because of the necessary reading in school.

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