on the benefits of assigned reading.

Last Thursday I wrote a post explaining how I feel about assigned reading. I wasn’t sure if a discussion would actually develop in the comments section, but to my delight many of you responded! You guys are the best!

A lot of people said that they agreed with my rather negative opinion on assigned reading, but some people disagreed. These readers offered several valid arguments as to why assigned reading can be a good thing, and I thought I would take the time to share a few of them with you.

It broadens your reading horizons.

Often times the books we’re assigned to read are ones we wouldn’t necessarily have picked up on our own. Whether you end up enjoying the book or not, it is always good to be exposed to new ideas, writing styles, authors, and genres.

Class discussions can be fun, engaging, and really helpful.

The only way to discuss a book with others effectively is if you’ve all read the same thing. This comes in handy when you don’t quite understand the novel because you can talk about it with your classmates and figure things out. It can also be a lot of fun!

Misery loves company.

Not that reading is misery (although it might be depending on the book, haha) but sometimes it can be rather… dull. With assigned reading, there are most likely many other people reading the same book alongside you. That’s way better than having to do it all on your own!

Thanks to all you optimistic people for helping me see the good in assigned reading! To keep this awesome conversation going, I have another question for you all today:

If you were a teacher, what types of books would you assign? (Classics? Modern literature? YA? Free choice? Others?)

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!




5 thoughts on “on the benefits of assigned reading.

  1. I like assigned readings at times because it encourages to read books outside my usual genre. Unfortunately I am a creature of habit so I probably won’t diversify on my own. A small complaint I have though is that many of the readings are written by people from the same culture and background. They should broaden the spectrum of books read, some modern, some classics, some originally printed in different languages etc. It also doesn’t help if students don’t have enough time to discuss the book and actually delve into the themes.

    • I definitely agree that they should teach a more diverse selection of books. Most of the books I’ve been assigned are by privileged white men. Reading Shakespeare is important, but what about Toni Morrison and other more diverse authors? I think schools could absolutely improve in this area. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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  4. I’m glad you wrote this follow-up post! Teaching was a legitimate career option for me, and I still sometimes dream about the what-if. I would definitely keep the seminal works (Lord of the Flies, etc) but I would pair every choice with a YA book or movie, to help kids with seeing the relevance, and to have them actually enjoy it. 😀

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