Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reading in School

Ever since basically fourth grade, my class has read novels. Together as a recreational sort of thing, aloud with assigned characters and lines, and, mostly, silently with tests and quizzes on the content of the books. Generally, I think, it is a pretty major part of a school's English curriculum. But does analyzing the grammar and making lists of characters and story elements sort of take the pleasure out of reading a book? I can read a book and be perfectly satisfied and thought-provoked without having written essays about the setting, theme, mood and all that. At the same time, however, I find myself more aware of what the story is about, if I'm conscious of all of the technical aspects.

What do you think? Does going over a book in class take the fun out of it? Or does it really depend on the teacher and how the book is being taught? Is it better to read just on your own? I'm not sure yet, how about you?


Twyla Lee said...

I think going over a book in class could be really fun if the kids are smart. I haven't had that much experience though. I used to be home-schooled, which was fun, but I didn't read many novels in my English class. I think I read only three throughout my home-school experience; Lord of the Flies, To Kill A Mockingbird, and The Scarlet Pimpernel

This year, I've been reading The Great Gatsby. It's been pretty fun and I prefer reading with my class. Sometimes we discuss things that I haven't seen the importance of though. Other times, our discussions really make me think. I enjoy listening to why people have the opinions they do about the book _if_ they have good evidence to back up their statements.

I haven't had to write an essay yet though. I'm not particularly looking forward to it. If I acquire a strong opinion about the book as we continue to read, then it should be fun. So, in conclusion, I believe it's about the teacher and the students that make reading in class fun.

Book Lovingly Yours,
Twyla Lee

Blonde Gothic Fairy said...

Yeah the whole school thing just takes the fun out of it, but I've enjoyed writing reviews about twilight for those of my friends who haven't read the series.

Tay Darramont said...

I agree with Twyla, that when the other kids in class have interesting and thought-provoking things to say, it can be fun and worthwhile to discuss books in class.

However, I do believe that the enjoyment is subject to a condition: whether or not I actually enjoyed the book. It's hard to be thought-provoked by a book that bored me to sleep, or a book that was just poorly written.

Also, about the essay thing. I had to write an essay for English class about To Kill A Mockingbird, and it wasn't really that fun because the assignment was boring. We were supposed to choose a scene in the book and write about how it contributed to theme, character development, plot, or some other literary aspect of the book. It wasn't really a discussion-causing topic.

But I still think that discussion and essay-writing can be fun and productive under the right circumstances.

Rui Xuan said...

Going over a book in class does take the fun out of it. For instance, in Language Arts, I got so bored that I started reading my own book which I had brought along. It does not depend on the teacher; in my view, because we all love our Language Arts teacher-she's fantastic.

The analysation of the story and characters took the fun out of reading itself, though. This might actually encourage students who dislike reading to dislike it even more.

Trina said...

i think it depends on the book, the class and the teacher. we read one book a year, and then analyse it to death. we do the same thing for a film and some short stories/poetry. if i really enjoyed the book, analysing and discussing it can take some of the magic away from it. however,if i didn't like the book, analysing it can make me more interested in some aspects of it, and also make me think about the themes of the book, and why i diidn' like it, rather than just dismissing it as stupid. also, sometimes you can get so caught up in all the "hidden meanings" in a book that you start just making them up. then you have to ask yourself, did the author intentionally put all these themes and messages into the book? or am i just seing things that aren't there. i think studying novels should be taking with a pinchof salt and caution. oh, andbeware over-analytical english teachers!