Thursday, May 30, 2013

Reader's Rant: Books Assigned in School

So I've recently started reading The Great Gatsby in my APLang class!  I was super excited because I had had my eye on it for a while and I figured it would be a fun and easy going way to close out the year in that class.  

It has not turned out to be the fun, easy going, happy experience I had imagined it to be.  Nope.  Not one bit.  We're done with our AP test and our final so I figured we would be reading this and maybe having group discussions or something.  Nothing too serious or stressful considering I'm basically drowning in stress in all my other classes.  But instead of that, we have been taking tests on the chapters every other day, taking "comma quizzes" on the punctuation in the book, making large posters comparing the 1920s dream to the "original" American dream, and writing paragraphs imitating the writing style in the book.  

 I really hate it when teachers do this to their students.  While I understand we have to have some sort of work to go along with the books we read, we definitely do not need as much as we're getting, especially when there is only six days left in school and fiction books aren't even a required part of our curriculum.  It takes a lot of enjoyment out of the book for me.  Normally, I would have probably shot through this book in a few hours.  But I have to go at a snail's pace because I don't want to mix up chapters when we take our chapter tests.  And I have to over analyze everything.  I like analyzing books and their meanings but I do not like picking at every single sentence, tearing it apart, and putting it back together with what might have been the author's meaning.  Sometimes, when an author says the blanket was blue, they just mean that the blanket is blue!  It doesn't always represent the sadness in life or whatever else my teacher thinks it might mean.


What do you guys think of this?  Does it affect the way you see a book if you're forced to read it for school?  What about chapter tests?  Leave your comments below!



  1. I know how you feel. All those "hidden meanings" behind sentences. Sometimes it's just what it is!


  2. True story right here... Of the billion books that I was required to read in high school, I only read 3, and I chose one of them myself (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and I picked Anna Karenina for my big Gr. 12 independent project). I never understood all those little hidden meanings, and that took the fun out of reading. I HATED The Great Gatsby. I have no interest in seeing the movie, or ever thinking about it again. So you're definitely not alone here.

    Samantha @ Reading-AndCoffee

  3. Last year, we read Island of the Blue Dolphins, Peter Pan, Bridge to Terabithia and The Giver. I only finished The Giver, since I read that before school on my own terms. I hate needing to read something that I don't want to. I would be completely fine with having to do all these novel-related projects if we could pick the books.

    Luckily, this year, The Sea of Monsters is in our to-read list for school! Yay! Finally, I get to read something I actually love.

    And yeah, not all authors leave hidden meanings in their works. I especially hate it when they give us a sentence, ask us to interpret it simply, and have only one correct answers. Sometimes one sentence can have many meanings, depending on who reads it.

    Generally, I love to read for fun, but I hate reading for school.

  4. I'm so with you on this!! I mean, I've always been someone to enjoy learning and also - usually, to a certain point - analyzing books. It's not that I despise it in general, but when it gets to the point where it ruins all the fun you initially had with the book, I think the teachers overdo it. Also, what's the point of taking away pupils joy of reading? I'd definitely plead for more novels in school, but less forced work with them!


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