As a soon to be (as in 20 more credits) certified secondary school English teacher, I have been pondering this question:
What do you think about required reading lists in school?
I’m torn on this question for two reasons (1) I like the idea of having a unified reading list and (2) I feel with a unified reading list there is no real sharing of ideas.
Working at a bookstore gives me an insight into what is being taught and
sometimes most times I’m saddened by what’s being taught. Most kids come in with reading lists that are outdated and what I mean by outdated is that most if not all of the books on the list are out of print. And when teachers try and stray from these lists many of their requests are denied.
Anyway, having a unified reading list is definitely ideal because everyone is discussing the same book. The problem in my mind is that it does not really allow for independent thinking; which is something that we are supposed to be teaching. And I think the literary canon is becoming increasingly outdated and unrelatable. Don’t get me wrong, I think we should read the ‘classics’, but I can’t help but wonder if there aren’t more contemporary books that we can include that will spark and keep the kids’ interest and get them thinking independently.
When I tutored one of the questions I would ask my kids is what did YOU think of what you read. And in the beginning, I was surprised at how hard the question was. Then I thought about it. When I was in school I did exactly what those kids did – parrot my teacher. I didn’t have to think about how I liked it or formulate an independent thought because they told me what I should think. So, in that regard, I am against school reading lists.
I do wish that kids were allowed to choose what they wanted to read a little more often. The other day I was helping a customer and she said that she had to choose two books from the list and two other books within specific genres. I like that idea. And, I was pleasantly surprised that the books on the required list were not out of print and were easily obtainable.
So, I’m slightly concerned because I tend to march and march loudly to the beat of a different drummer and I’m pretty sure that I will not be able to contain my disdain for teaching outdated and out of print books.
What are your thoughts on the required reading for school?
I finally started a Booktube channel and would love for you to stop by, let me know what you think and of course, if you feel so inclined subscribe. Here is the channel’s trailer. Enjoy!
Here’s a link to my booktube channel, The Broken Spine.