As a former literature student, I have had quite a lot of books to read. When you choose to study literature at university, then you know you will have required readings and in a way, you have “chosen” it. However, you’ve not chosen to study literature in high school and thus, required reading at that point of your scolarity might seem a little annoying. Today, I would love us to discuss the impact of required reading on people’s relationship with reading in the course of their ulterior life. Ready?
A great way to get into a “reading habit”…
Making reading a habit
One of the main reasons why people do not read on a daily basis is that they can’t seem to find time to do it. Thus, I think that having to read for school is a great way to get used to making reading a habit. When you have to read a book for class, chances are that you will actually read a little bit every day in order to make it more digest and to process the information better. Thus, you are necessarily creating a reading habit in order to be able to do well in class.
Discovering new genres
We all have favorite genres, and school tends to broaden our aesthetic sense. We do indeed face books we would never have read by ourselves. Sometimes, we discover something we do not like but other times, the surprise ends up being beautiful. Thus, I think that required reading can sometimes be a wonderful way to discover new genres by getting a bit out of our comfort zone.
Getting to discuss the books we’ve liked
Usually, teachers want us discuss what we have read in groups (at least from my own experience), which we tend to find a bit stressful, but is a great way to have the opportunity to discuss what we have just read. Discussing what we have read is a great way to remember it as well as a way to share a passion with likeminded people. If your teacher is not into working in groups, they will probably at least ask you to write an essay or a text commentary. It might look a bit boring at first, but it is, as well, a wonderful way to get to remember and process what you have just read.
… but a possibility to get disgusted
Having to finish books we do not like
However, and even though I see a lot of bright sides to required reading, it is definitely a two-sided question. The first reason why I am not 100% convinced by required reading is the necessity to finish books in order to get a good grade. We all want good grades to some extent, thus we need to read the book properly in order to grasp as much of its meaning as possible. However, what do you do when you end up not liking (if not hating) the book in front of you? I remember a time when I told a teacher I did not like the required book and I have been lucky enough to be understood and given a new book to read. However, not everyone is like this (wonderful) teacher and some people will force you to finish reading the book anyway. I am fully convinced that reading should be an enjoyable activity and thus, I am pro-DNFing (DNF = Did Not FInish). You clearly can’t DNF a book you have to read for school and thus, I am not sure required reading is good in that respect.
Needing to conceptualize feelings
I wrote earlier that having to read a book for school implied the necessity to discuss it. I said it was a good thing to be able to process our feelings about the book we have read. However, it is sometimes a bit detrimental to our enjoyment of it in my opinion. I would go as far as to say that even though processing our feelings about books is a good thing in my opinion, it is something that must take time. You need time to process a book and sometimes, you need several readings on several years in order to grasp its content and soul. Thus, I am not a gigantic fan of required reading as far as writing essays in concerns.