Students Share Their Thoughts On Required Reading Books


Do You Think Students Should Have A Say in Their Required Reading? (Graphic by Amber Chen)

Luka Ardon, Centerspread Editor

English class is something all students have in common. 

From “To Kill a Mockingbird” to “Catch 22,” there are many books that students are required to read. 

Core novels connect all PVHS students, but what are students’ opinions on them? 

Freshman Mia Anderson thinks there is a better way to get students to read novels.

“They should choose books that students are actually interested in,” Anderson said.

Senior Steel Weiss has thought of a way to communicate with the school about which books the students would be interested in.

“I think it would be more valuable if the school created a list for the students to choose from and the overall majority vote is what each class decides to read,” Weiss said.

“If there’s more student say in the matter, there is going to be more participation and overall more knowledge consumption,” Weiss said.

More knowledge consumption is very important. 

A key part of that is keeping students attentive and engaged.  

School librarian Ashley Brockman shared the same sentiment during her high school days.

“I remember being in high school and I would read the book so quickly and I’d [think], ‘how are we spending six weeks on the same book,’” Brockman said.

The novel selection has caught the attention of many students.

“I think there are a lot of really good novels that I was glad I was introduced to by school,” junior Gia Bohorquez said. 

There is one writer who everyone has an opinion on: Shakespeare.

 Every student is required to read one of his plays in three out of their four years. 

“I’m not a fan of Shakespeare,” Bohorquez said.

This seems to be a very common opinion among all high schoolers and has led to conversations on the best way to teach Shakespeare.

“There are new ways of teaching difficult texts like Shakespeare,” Brockman said. 

“Nobody is going to say ‘Students really want to read Shakespeare and it’s super easy for them,’” Brockman said.

These new ways of teaching are based on the fact that students are reading Shakespeare plays, which were written to be seen, not read like a book. 

“The idea is that you’re going to watch [the play], [not read] segments of it,” Brockman said. 

“You’re not going to read it word for word,” Brockman said.

But is this too much Shakespeare?

Three out of four years of students’ English classes are required to read a Shakespearean play. 

“It would break my heart to see Shakespeare leave, but we’ve had those conversations [deciding that] maybe two years of Shakespeare is enough,” Brockman said.

Apart from Shakespeare, students still love to read and school core novels give students the chance to discover and enjoy amazing books. 

This can be seen at every grade level. 

“I am pretty sure that we are going to read the “Lord of the Flies,” which people say is really good,” Anderson said. “Another book I am kind of excited to read is “The Great Gatsby.’”

Sophomore Teagan Ballard has a similar opinion. 

“I really enjoy them,” Ballard said. 

“I think that they all have their own very important meanings and they really represent how we should be as people and how the school thinks we should be,” Ballard said.

Even seniors look back fondly on some of the books they read.

“‘Night” by Elie Wiesel is a little dark, especially for freshmen, but it’s a serious message,” Weiss said.

Teachers have cotinued teaching these books over the years because they provide students with important messages and perspectives that the students are able to apply as they grow older.