Lately, I’ve been really interested in finding out what influences and encourages people to read. Are we born readers? Is reading a nurtured skill? Maybe (most probably) it’s a bit of both? A few weeks ago, I asked whether “only children” and older children tend to read more and the responses were extremely interesting. This week, I’m wondering whether required readings in schools push us toward or away from becoming readers.
As I mentioned in the post linked above, I’ve always been a reader, even before I was at the level where we had required readings. So for me, when I got to high school and our English class had set reading lists, I approached (most of) them with excitement. However, I was also raised to think that classics were “cool,” so that might have influenced my enthusiasm as well. That being said, I’ve spoken to many people who have told me that the required readings in school actually put them off reading, whether it was because they weren’t interested in the reading material or because they felt like reading had become a chore for them. I think that’s definitely understandable.
Reading is supposed to be a fun experience. I know first-hand how frustrating it is to feel like you HAVE to read a certain book or books. That’s what pushed me to take a year-long hiatus from reading after graduating from university- the fact that reading had become a chore, something that was merely done to fulfill homework assignments and not necessarily appreciated or enjoyed. But I wonder if there’s a way out of this problem. Required readings are set for a reason. How do we engage with the text so that they inspire readers instead of push them away? Obviously this is a very complicated question but I do wonder what your stance is.
Do you think required readings discourage potential readers? Did you enjoy any of the reading you had to do in school? Is there possibly a way to make reading fun in class? As always, I’m looking forward to your responses as they are always so thought-provoking and interesting!