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Should students still be forced to read for entertainment in school?

  • No kid wants to read the "IIliad" or "The Grapes of Wrath".

    By forcing kids to read books that are incredibly boring to them, they associate all books to the feeling of boredom. Literature, not entertainment books, should be relegated to people who enjoy it. High school level reading should set up a person's love of reading for the rest of their lives, not dissuade them from reading all together. The people who love literature are often academics who are the ones that teach our children. Teach the kids to love to read, and let them decide for themselves if they want to continue a study into classic literature at the college level. Go into any blue collar shop and ask the middle age workers how much they read for enjoyment. You'll get a few, but as a whole, they will laugh you right out the door. These are some of the most closed minded people you will ever meet, and it because nothing has ever broadened their minds. Reading is stupid, and everything you need to know happened outside the school walls.

  • Because otherwise many kids would not read at all

    Kids today will turn to television, video games, computers and mobile phones to entertain them when they get home. Many kids would not read at all if it wasn't an activity they did in school. Yet reading fluently is a very important life skill which can be greatly improved by reading for entertainment.

  • Learning about fictional writings is important, too.

    Don't force them to read books they don't like, obviously. Give us a choice, but recommend high-quality books so everyone learns that it's actually possible to enjoy books. That's something not being taught. I'm not saying it's bad to watch TV, or play video games, or anything like that. However, if we aren't forced--or at the very least encouraged--to read fiction at first, we'll live our entire lives associating reading with textbooks, and the boring elementary school ones at that. I, personally, had a lot of trouble learning to read when I was little. I wasn't the least bit interested in the books I was being given, so why bother reading them? Then, when I was introduced to the internet, I had a bit of motivation. Soon enough, I was reading. Then, I became the biggest reader in my class (like, by far) when I started reading books with actual entertainment value. Seriously, you're missing out both in academics (including, but not limited to, learning about writing styles and how to create an outlet for creativity) and in life if you spend your entire lifespan reading only out of necessity.

  • Here's a different approach

    Instead of forcing students to read books they don't like, why not have a school library? Give a designated time for independent reading! If students finish their work early, tell them to read! I could understand forcing a kindergartener to read just to build up his/her reading skills, but why force a secondary school student to read a book they don't like? It's not like that would magically raise their reading level. If they find a word they don't know, they wouldn't look it up because they don't care about the plotline! Students go to school to learn, not to play on smartphones. If students are reading, then they are forming pathways between their neurons and helping their brain develop. This is simply not the case with texting, or listening to music. If you do let them play electronic games, at least make them educational!

  • Technically this question makes zero sense.

    If one is being forced to read, say for an assignment, then one is reading for the assignment and not for entertainment. It is actually impossible to force entertainment.

    If the question MEANT should students still have required reading lists, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Too many of our students are completely ignorant of not only literature but of even the most basic spelling and grammar. Catering to this ignorance by eliminating actual books from the curriculum does nothing but lower the standard of intelligence of our children.

    There are several valid reasons other developed nations think Americans are stupid- our disdain for reading anything of quality is one of them.

  • There is no purpose.

    I know reading is fundamental, however reading for entertainment is not. Schools still force children to read books made for the pleasure of the reader, however, if one does not find what they are reading to be entertaining then I don't see the purpose. The point being is, yes students should be able to dissect plot lines and decode hidden messages, however, we no longer need books to do this. In fact, writing narratives teaches all these skills, and dissecting movies will teach most. However, writing narratives usually takes 2nd place to writing articles. However, I think it's about time we stop forcing students to read books for entertainment. It simply is no longer necessary.

  • Entertainment Isn't Forced

    Firstly, you cannot force entertainment. For myself, I love to read. I do it often, but now on my IPad more than paper books (that I have). My love of reading was not brought upon from being forced to read Macbeth, but from my parents and teachers introducing books that interested me at an early age. If not for them, I would absolutely abhor reading, just as I am extremely unfond of the books that I am forced to read. If it were my choice, then the process would be a whole lot easier for all parties involved.

  • Entertainment Isn't Forced

    Firstly, you cannot force entertainment. For myself, I love to read. I do it often, but now on my IPad more than paper books (that I have). My love of reading was not brought upon from being forced to read Macbeth, but from my parents and teachers introducing books that interested me at an early age. If not for them, I would absolutely abhor reading, just as I am extremely unfond of the books that I am forced to read. If it were my choice, then the process would be a whole lot easier for all parties involved.

  • Students should be forced to read but not for entertainment

    It is important for students to read, however no one can force enjoyment. Reading for enjoyment is based on one's personal preference. It took me 6 years in one school to enjoy this activity as the books in my school simply weren't of my preference. Meanwhile at home, I got a bookshelf simply because there was no other place in my room for books.

    I know plenty of people who have gave up reading entirely because of these assignments. If anything, it discourages students from reading other books.

    Posted by: Okan
  • You can't force entertainment

    Entertainment is something that comes without being forced (that's what she said). If a child is forced to read a book, it isn't very likely that they will enjoy the book and therefore no entertainment has been had. This means that if the child isn't being entertained by the book, then they shouldn't be forced to read it in the first place as the teacher will have probably realised that they don't want to read it and won't be entertained by it.


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Hatstand says2013-07-21T04:56:27.483
This is an interesting topic, but your choice of wording leaves me unable to give a definitive answer. The way I see it, the purpose of forcing students to read is to allow them to improve their language skills. Any person who doesn't know the difference between "your" and "you're", or worse thinks that "yor" is an acceptable substitute for either, is clearly lacking in that skill. However, this is a skill that cannot be improved by mealy talking, as language has evolved past mere phonetics in order to allow a wider spectrum of meaning; or by watching movies for the same reason. When we delve into the realms of the written word, published content must be considered necessary, as simply texting, browsing the internet or other forms unfiltered media merely serve the proliferate the uneducated drivel.

The importance of the correct understanding of the English language does not simply extend to being able to differentiate between simple sentences (the classic "let's eat, Grandma" versus "let's eat Grandma" springs to mind) but also to the breadth of thought. Just as it is impossible to picture a colour you have never seen, or at least make up up those you have seen, it is impossible to verbally communicate an idea that is not either represented by a word you know, or cannot be expressed with words you know. Seeing as verbal or written communication make up a huge proportion of the way we spread ideas, this effectively means that putting a cap on the number of words you understand also puts a cap on the number of ideas you can interact with. Sure, your average txt spk might be enough to get you through everyday life in a purely mechanical sense, but it is our ability to think analytically, and discuss more complex ideas that that we claims sets us apart from the "animals".

Enjoyment has nothing to do with it. Young people need to be forced to interact with the language in its proper written form if they will not do so of their own volition. It is not a matter of dictating what people should do for leisure, but ensuring that they obtain what must be considered an important life skill. I'm not saying they have to read fiction, because learning to unweave plots is not the purpose of the exercise, but reading some form of published prose is undoubtedly one of the best ways to ensure that a person learns to interact with and utilise their language.
TheShamelessTruth says2013-07-21T05:55:05.287
The language can be utilized far better through writing then through reading. In class, when we read we don't even use books for language arts skills. We basically read classic books and digest the plot structure of them. This is something that can be easily done w/ a movie. Writing is the greatest use of one's language, however reading is not. Reading is simply being able to understand what is written.
Hatstand says2013-07-21T06:04:32.010
Would you be able to write anything if you had never read anything? The only way to encounter new words and ways of writing in their full context is through reading. Also, this argument is not about the way books are analysed in English classes, but about whether or not students should read externally. I agree completely that as far as the way books are dissected in English classes are concerned, movies will also fit the bill. As will poetry, plays (both written and performed), and just about any other literary form you care to think of.
Hatstand says2013-07-21T06:06:27.767
I apologise if that should have gone under replies. I am still relatively new to the formatting of this site.
TheShamelessTruth says2013-07-21T15:01:29.777
I never said they should stop reading, just stop being forced to read books designed for entertainment. If you want kids to read something let them choose. As it stands right now we read things because they have a cultural significance (basically if you hadn't read it you look dumb) and not for the purpose of educating, simply for the purpose of appearing to be educated because you've read more popular books. This is a practice I feel needs to stop. A batman comic book has just as much cultural significance as To Kill A Mocking Bird or Of Mice And Men, they need to let students choose what books they want to read if the purpose of the book is to entertain. If you're going to force someone to read something, it should be an article or textbook, because that serves a purpose of educating and not entertaining. You can't force someone to be entertained.
mrsatan says2013-07-21T18:14:30.887
Believe me, most teachers do not care if you're entertained. I never read Of Mice and Men, but I'll agree that To Kill a Mockingbird is not an enjoyable read. While I agree there's no harm in giving students a choice in what they read, I'm not sure why you have a problem with them being chosen due to cultural relevance. It's not just that most people have read them, so you should too. It's because they are applicable, because they have significance beyond simple entertainment.

As far as movies vs. Books is concerned, there are a couple of reasons why books are better for learning. I don't think I have ever seen a book-inspired movie with anywhere near the same depth as the book. Granted, I haven't seen/read anywhere near all of these, but it's a generally true observation. That depth requires more thinking to separate plot lines, and movies offer no help in showing you the sentence structure of proper writing.

Books also foster a persons imagination and creativity, which is a relevant aspect of many careers in today's society. That won't necessarily apply to whatever career you may choose to pursue, but if it does, you'll be better off for it. Of course, you have to apply yourself in order to receive this benefit. Next time you're reading any sort of descriptive paragraphs I would recommend trying this: Read the text, and then close your eyes, and imagine yourself to actually be there. Imagine standing in the middle of that scene, and for anything that's not described, fill in the blanks with your own creativity. It will help to make it more entertaining, although the more entertaining you find it to begin with, the more it will help.
TheShamelessTruth says2013-07-21T18:27:32.297
I have a problem with things being chosen on cultural relevance because it's always about sounding smarter, but they don't really care what lessons you learn. The skills you listen can be obtained from almost any GOOD well written book, so students should have an option. Also, you can go into depth with many movies as well, just have to find the right one. (Works very well w/ trilogies) Also, think about this, Batman has a great amount of cultural relevance. It also throws a lot of philosophy and depth at you. However, you will not ever read this in school. Why is that? The answer is sad but simple, you simply sound smarter when you say you've read To Kill A Mocking Bird as opposed to something like Batman, or Silence of the Lambs (I forget what the book's name was). Also, imagination plays a larger role in many of the books children would find more interesting. Visualization skills are better utilized when you're reading something you enjoy reading.

Btw, this question spawned out of a High School summer reading assignment. I enjoy writing and love doing it. I am 16 and I have already written 2 books and 14 screenplays (they are my specialty). I don't have time to write during school though so I always write during the summer, but this assignment has gotten in my way. I would definitely utilize my skills and learn more if I could write however, since I'm forced to read a book I am not interested in I feel like I'm taking a step back instead of a step forward.
Hatstand says2013-07-21T20:28:28.867
This seems to be a concept I am unfamiliar with. Does your school employ a practice where it gives you a set list of texts to read, and then never covers them in class?
TheShamelessTruth says2013-07-21T22:04:37.270
They make us read a book over the summer and have us break down numerous components of it. The thing is, that is a fine assignment but we should be able to have some option of the book chosen since it's 10x easier to break down a book you enjoy. These books were made for entertainment
Hatstand says2013-07-22T04:25:33.883
I suppose, but not all people can identify which books have merit. The schooling system is designed to cater to all students, and unfortunately some need more steering than others. Does your system include related texts? The system I am familiar with is that you are given one text, find the themes, and then choose another text of your own which has the same themes (note that the related text does not have to be a novel). Although there are some texts I have encountered in the syllabus that I would rather eat page by page than read (and my English teacher agreed with me on that one) having set texts allows students to explore a wider range of texts than they would encounter on their own, and it also makes it easier for teachers to teach. Imagine trying to teach 20 students who were all studying different texts at the same time. I think it's worth noting that nobody claims that older texts are inherently better than newer ones, but that the ones that have survived are the creme of the crop, and therefore you don't have to do as much sifting through to find good ones as you do with modern ones.
TheShamelessTruth says2013-07-22T06:19:01.713
No we don't do related texts. It's a novel per half quarter
TheShamelessTruth says2013-07-22T06:19:45.207
This problem can be solved with a book list. I'm not anti reading, all I'm asking for is an option. Just give students a book list
Hatstand says2013-07-22T06:32:06.023
With a book list, you again come up against the teaching problem. I presume that each novel is at least partially covered in class?
TheShamelessTruth says2013-07-23T14:21:04.863
Trust me, as someone who have seen both systems use, and can still remember them. You learn way more from reading something you enjoy, then trying to force yourself to gain knowledge from something you don't care about. Reading is like having any other hobby. If you like it you learn a lot doing it. If you're doing it out of force, it's like a job and you really only care about the grade and not the education.
Hatstand says2013-07-23T21:13:58.670
As someone who thoroughly enjoyed reading, I can understand that, but the system you are suggesting would ONLY work for people who already read of their own volition. However, as I have said above, everyone needs to read whether they enjoy it or not. Whether or not they grasp the themes, motifs, etc. Is of secondary importance to what they gain by actually interacting with proper English. - something many would not do on their own. Someone who didn't enjoy reading would most likely choose books that are easy to read every time, and those are not always the best.