More positive options for reading a book in class


A page turner-Student Mariah Navarro enjoys reading. She continued to read her book”I can’t put this book down, I hope to finish it today.”

Katie Jones, Staff Reporter

One requirement that all students will see in a literature class each year is reading an assigned book or famous piece of writing. However, forcing students to read dry non-fiction pieces and take tests with class assignments is not the best way for students to experience the works of writing positively. There are many other ways to encourage students with reading without giving them an abundance of assignments for their quarter grade.

Students should be given the time to read the book on their own without a teacher standing over them, pressuring them to store away certain story events for the upcoming chapter quiz. Doing this will simply result in students getting spark notes for each chapter and notes from their friend who already completed the book. This causes them to lose the chance to read an important piece of work that could potentially change their outlook on life.

A page turner: Carissa Hever likes to search for books in the library. She found her favorite genre on a shelf. “I like mystery and murder books, they perk my interests.”

“Independent reading and open discussions are better because you might understand the reading by yourself and see other’s opinions on it as well,” stated AP Language and Composition student Ellie Russell.

A straightforward solution is to have open class discussions and to read actual novels. Socratic discussions on the book and letting students express how they feel about it instead of quizzing them on each chapter. This activity gets students to interact with each other over the story, get a better understanding of it and see other reader’s opinions on the writing as well.

The website Teachthough states, “Make reading social. The process, the reflections, the outcomes. Help them see the value of both the process of reading (critical thinking), and the outcomes of reading (knowledge). Help them see reading as part of the relationship between the life they have and the life they want to have.”

Another productive way to get students interested in reading is to have entertaining activities that complement the book, like when students read “The Outsiders,” then have a dress-up day at school. Another example is reading “Romeo and Juliet” and having students volunteer to act out scenes along with the play. Mrs. Adams uses an exciting activity by having students prepare a party with foods from the time period of the book “To Kill A Mockingbird” after the completion of it.

Adams explained, “Most of our novels are read out of class, however, we have class discussions frequently so they’ll want to be prepared for it.”

Adams believes that classwork is beneficial for the students but she also explained that in her opinion, classroom discussions are the best.

Not to say that students should be excused from classwork when reading a book. However, taking a test on each chapter, along with writing notes and completing worksheets on characters and story plots is too distracting. That can result in students detaching from the book and characters, making it just another class assignment.

Next time a class is assigned a piece of writing to read, class discussions about the book should be done rather than loads of work sheets. The assignments given should be more inclusive on the work as a whole and not just on specific details.