I’ve decided to create this new feature on my blog called ‘Mini-Discussion’ where we’ll talk about various topics as my interest/feelings grow on that topic. Today, I thought it would be fun to discuss to annoyance and joy of reading in school.
Right now, I’m awfully annoyed with reading in school because I feel like that’s all I’m having time to read for! I have a huge project about The Book Thief and a paper about Markus Zusak due soon and it’s stressing me out quite a bit. I do truly love the book, but right now I want to throw it out my window. Although, this project allowed us to chose our own book from an approved list of books for my grade. This was nice because it allowed some freedom for us to read what interests us.
There is also another mini-project that is due soon-ish that is from a book that we chose completely on our own, not from a list. Every Friday is SSR (silent sustained reading, a.k.a my favorite day!) and the project is about a book that we’ve read on a Friday, or really any book. As long as it’s a novel, it’s good. I love the ability to do a assignment on my favorite book I’ve read recently, but still having to do a project on it takes some of the fun away from reading it.
Now, let’s talk about those lovely assigned books. Aren’t these everyone’s favorite? I personally have not had good experiences with assigned reading projects, so let’s take a little trip down memory lane.
Elementary school (or Primary school) is a bit of blur for me. I know I read some books, such as the Phantom Tollbooth, which is still one of my favorite reads today, but the rest is all guessing. An interesting fact is that I struggled a lot with reading when I was much younger. I never liked to read because most of it never made sense, so it was hard for me to begin critically reading in late Elementary school/Middle school. I did eventually get better at it, but I never enjoyed reading as a leisurely activity until 7th grade.
I must have awful memory, because the first year of middle school is a complete blur. Perhaps some of the memories are fuzzy because I despised Middle school, but oh well. However, in 7th grade my teacher really pushed us as a class. Our first reading assignment was actually The Hunger Games. This was my first time reading THG, even though everyone else in my class had already read it. I did enjoy it, but I found it annoying how my teacher kept relating the book to our world, and what has happened in the past and what will happen in the future. One kid in my class said that U.S will be like Panem by 2015 and clearly that didn’t happen, so I guess we all weren’t very good at critically reading yet. There might have been a book or two in between these, but the next novel I remember reading was George Orwell’s 1984. Oh man, I did not like this book at all, I found it confusing and overly complicated so I never tried to connect to what I was reading. Sometimes school pushes us too hard and that causes students to feel discouraged. From personal experience, I feel as if 1984 was not a book for 7th graders, but for junior or seniors in High school. I do remember reading Lord of the Flies in 8th grade, which was a unit that I quite enjoyed. This was a much more appropriate novel for our reading level, which made the time we spent with the book much more enjoyable.
High school is the clearest, since that’s what I’m currently in. My freshman year, we ended up reading The Odyssey (loved it!), Raisin in the Sun (eh, not so much), This Boy’s Life (least favorite we read that year), and Romeo and Juliet (this was definitely an interesting read.) It was a pretty standard repertoire, but I enjoyed the books we read for the most part. So far in sophomore year, which is my current year, we’ve read Antigone (the Burial at Thebes edition) and we’re finishing up our Animal Farm unit.
Reading in school causes many different emotions, almost strictly depending on which novel you’re reading at the time. It’s hard to find a book that everyone in the class will enjoy and I highly doubt that’s possible anyways. I feel as if the books they chose symbolize that we, as children, need to expand our reading selections, not necessarily have us read Epic Poems weekly, but to expose us to different types of literature. The only thing that we can particularly do is to try and make the best of whatever assignment is thrown our way.