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Discussions > Why We Hate Most Of The Books Our Teachers Tell Us To Read

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message 1: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) All teachers give us books to read and we end up hating them? Why?

Because the books they give us are boring and are out of date. The only reason they use the books they do is because it teaches their students a specific lesson or it teaches us what the state requires us to know.

There are many contemporary books out there that can teach us the messages and lessons that teachers and the state want us to know.


message 2: by Jordan (new)

Jordan (flyinglogicmonkey) | 150 comments Ashley wrote: "Because the books they give us are boring and are out of date. The only reason they use the books they do is because it teaches their students a specific lesson or it teaches us what the state requires us to know."


I would disagree with this statement.


message 3: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ as a teacher, i would say the reason we don't like these books is because most of them are from a time period long past and thus make it harder to read. the syntax is different, the diction is harder, but the overall themes remain the same.

i also think there are some reads that we get when we are not mature enough to appreciate what the book is trying to convey to us.

i teach junior English and i have several kids that are readers. i mean they read the classics like tolstoy, the bronte sisters and dickens! these are not light reads. but these are kids that are more mature and are voracious readers.

i read many a book in high school that wasn't assigned: the picture of dorian gray, the catcher in the rye and the scarlet letter come to mind.

i don't think switching to more contemporary books would necessarily make the read more interesting. easier, but not more interesting. i think the teacher has to possess an enthusiasm for the material that the students must match.

i've seen this happen when i teach the crucible. my colleagues complain that it is boring and the kids hate it, but my students can't wait to find out what happens to john proctor and abigail williams.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I think they could consider books that are not always so sad. It kind of gets you down when you are reading sad books throughout the read. Mix it up just a bit.


message 5: by Jordan (last edited Mar 02, 2010 03:44PM) (new)

Jordan (flyinglogicmonkey) | 150 comments Elizabeth wrote: "as a teacher, i would say the reason we don't like these books is because most of them are from a time period long past and thus make it harder to read. the syntax is different, the diction is harder, but the overall themes remain the same."

Is it possible that the quality of literature has gone downhill, and that we (that is, high school students specifically) make modern books the standard that we judge everything by? The (classic) book could be phenomenal, but since we're comparing it to...say...Twilight, it becomes automatically less interesting.


message 6: by Jencey/ (new)

Jencey/ (jencey) I agree with Elizabeth. Although I wasn't totally hating all the classics I read in highschool. I do think we should taught a little of what that time period is like so that we can comprehend what we read better.


message 7: by Dara (new)

Dara | 85 comments I don't remember ever really reading them. But I still hate being told what to read. I love these book groups on GR because I can participate without having to read whatever book the group is reading at that particular time. I adore talking about books I read, just don't wanna do it on someone else's time frame.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

idk, all i know is the books are boring!


message 9: by Jordan (new)

Jordan (flyinglogicmonkey) | 150 comments *Maria*the cat spirit* wrote: "idk, all i know is the books are boring!"

Why?


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

idk why the're boring...they just are!


message 11: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ Jordan wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "as a teacher, i would say the reason we don't like these books is because most of them are from a time period long past and thus make it harder to read. the syntax is different, t..."

i think that kids don't appreciate the written word. the contemporary books they read have to be easy and accessible. i read nickel and dimed with my students and they didn't read it. they found it boring and some thought it was difficult. and that's contemporary. i also read the things they carried with them and the students typically love this book. content? writing style? language? i don't know. i read selected stories, but most of my students will go out and buy the book and read it from cover to cover.

and boring is all relative. does it have to be that all the classics are categorically boring?


message 12: by Jordan (new)

Jordan (flyinglogicmonkey) | 150 comments Elizabeth wrote: "and boring is all relative. does it have to be that all the classics are categorically boring? "

Exactly. That's what I've been asking. Is it that they're fundamentally boring? Or something else.

I think if you gave a high school guy (which I am not :) a copy of Twilight and a copy of The Grapes of Wrath, he'd probably think they were both boring. So, what makes a classic a classic, if not the fact that they are boring?


message 13: by Denise (new)

Denise (redreader) | 34 comments My first thought is what in school do children truly enjoy? Most of school from reading to science is offten not enjoyable to the children. We often hear how children/teenageer are all about going East when parents/adults go west...so I see it as part of childhood. If they are TOLD to do it they don't like it. From day to day what they like changes. I'm all for giving it our best to get kids/teenagers to like what they read in school but it most likely will be a lost battle


message 14: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ i think jordan is right. kids have differing taste and we can give them two books and they probably will find both boring. it's true. but do most adults also think the same books are boring? classics like: dickens, steinbeck, hawthorne, melville, etc.

i recently read a tale of two cities and it was a bit of work for me - and i'm thirty-eight with an english degree. can that be an easy or interesting read for a senior in high school?


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I think that some of the books are seen as boring because they are not exciting. Sad books are not really what you want to read unless you are in the mood for that type of book.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

i don't mind reading what my teachers tell me to read. i think my teachers have good taste in books and i can always tell them my honest opinion and they really appreciate my taste and encourage me to read more.


message 17: by ♥ Rachel♥ (last edited Mar 06, 2010 07:43PM) (new)

♥ Rachel♥   (i_got_a_jar_of_dirt) | 86 comments I really like some books I'm assigned to read, it all depends on the book. (Then again, I liked Hamlet when I was 3 o.o Still do, but...bit too young?)


message 18: by **Carla** (new)

**Carla** I think back to school and I liked the books we read for the most part. I remember the 5th grade reading The Incredible Journey and it was hard for me not to read ahead of the class..(even though we were reading outlound in turns). And in high school I didn't mind reading Shakespeare. I think I also read Dracula by Bram Stoker and if anyone is interested in books about the holocaust I would recomenned Night by Elias Weisle as well as Dawn. We read Night as as calss and I read the second bok Dawn as by personal book report.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Elizabeth wrote: "Jordan wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "as a teacher, i would say the reason we don't like these books is because most of them are from a time period long past and thus make it harder to read. the syntax ..."



well, as a kid, what i look for in a book if adventure, excitment, ect. most books my teacher gives me are not like that.


message 20: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ i don't recall what i read for school in elementary. dare i say we didn't read any novels? in junior high, i don't think we read any novels either. i have always read, so perhaps i am biased in my opinion that one should embrace all books they read. but that doesn't make sense either does it? i have always read the books i was assigned in school, with the exception of paradise lost in college (i ran out of time). i know people and have students that think everything they read is boring. how is this possible? and how does one define "adventure, excitement"? isn't that the same as "boring"?


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Honestly, i don't think it is the same at all. i guess it depends on what kind of books you like. As far as not reading any novels, i'm reading one right now but i have not been assigned one for school yet.


message 22: by Katy (new)

Katy (sopranino) | 2 comments I think when I was in Elementary through High School, I never actually finished one book they gave us to read. Not necessarily because I disliked them, but because they wanted us to read at their speed, which wasn't possible for me, with all the extra-curricular activities I had, I just couldn't keep up. I still did well enough, but never got a chance to finish the books before we had to hand them back in. Once I was in college and went back to read some of these books, I was able to look at them with a new appreciation. I think a large part of the problem is that children aren't mature enough to appreciate the books that they're given to read.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Well i read Tuck Everlasting in school and i loved it. As for children not being mature, bull.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

I agree with you Maria. Children are way smarter then we were back in the day. I'm not too old (28) but with my oldest being 8 I can tell that he knows some stuff that didn't know. I know you arent' too much ahead of him. I treat him as an adult when it comes to talking about real world issues. Surprisingly he asks questions so that he can understand more fully. I'm really proud of him for that.


message 25: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne (a-town) | 42 comments I loved to read the books my teachers gave me to read in school. I would always read ahead and my teachers would get upset with me, but I really loved the books, I found them very interesting. I loved
Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, and Shakespeare is a definite favorite (except for Romeo and Juliet). I think it is taste that determines what is boring and what isn't. I find books like Twilight boring and unreadable, however I love the classics. I think it is the over-analyzing that kills the fun for some of the students. Personally, I always enjoyed class discussions and getting into the deeper meanings of the book, but I hated doing the questions and essays.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Essays do ruin the fun of reading! Although, I fund that sometimes it is were I can voice some of my thoughts more throuoghly.


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

I think reading with a group or a class makes it eaiser to read and understand, but i enjoy reading things most of my class would hate. Like i' reading Misery right now while most of my class wouldn't even consider it until high school.


message 28: by Andrez (new)

Andrez (andrez-ssi) Elizabeth wrote: "as a teacher, i would say the reason we don't like these books is because most of them are from a time period long past and thus make it harder to read. the syntax is different, the diction is har..."

how old are your students?(and please dont say sophomore or junior or whaterver because I dont know what that means)


message 29: by Andrez (new)

Andrez (andrez-ssi) in my school (in fact, in here, country) we dont read bronte, austen, dickens etc unless you study languages (if you do, you have literature) so till 9th grade, all we do is study thin books (+- 100 pages) that are either too long (for those who dont like to read) or too short (for thopse who like to read) and then in 9th grade theres this 'jump' to the The Lusiads which is a complete poetry description of the portuguese age of discovery in archaic portuguese which is tiresome. (personal note: I really like jane austen and charlotte bronte and may alcott and jules vernes books)


message 30: by Chantelle (new)

Chantelle (chantelle13) | 7 comments I teach middle school and for my honors class, I have no choice in the books that my students read, and I dislike them as much as they do.

When I have the freedom to choose books for my students and I to read together, I usually have most of my students love them.

For sixth grade we've read
Homeless Bird
Chu Ju's House
Al Capone Does My Shirts
MilkweedThe Breadwinner
The Midwife's Apprentice
Crispin: The Cross of Lead
The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger

The books they *have* to read:
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
The Canterbury Tales
The Epic of Gilgamesh


message 31: by Jordan (new)

Jordan (flyinglogicmonkey) | 150 comments I've read Al Capone Does My Shirts (and Al Capone Shines My Shoes), The Midwife's Apprentice, Crispin, The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger, though not all in sixth grade.

Oh, and Leonor, in the U.S...
Elementary school is kindergarden through sixth grade, which is about age 5 or 6 through age 11 or 12.
Junior high is seventh and eighth grade, about age 13-14.
(Sometimes, there's middle school instead, which is grades 5-8)
High school is age 14ish-18.
The first year of high school, ninth grade, is referred to as freshman year. The next year, tenth grade, is sophomore year (Me :). Then junior year, then senior year.
Does this help at all? :)


message 32: by Andrez (new)

Andrez (andrez-ssi) Jordan wrote: "I've read Al Capone Does My Shirts (and Al Capone Shines My Shoes), The Midwife's Apprentice, Crispin, The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger, though not all in sixth grade.

Oh, and Leonor, in t..."


thanks jordan it does!!!


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Great breakdown Jordan.


message 34: by Dara (new)

Dara | 85 comments Elizabeth wrote: "as a teacher, i would say the reason we don't like these books is because most of them are from a time period long past and thus make it harder to read. the syntax is different, the diction is har..."

Very good description Elizabeth. I think I would agree. It's been along time since I was in high school, but overall I just don't like being told what to read and when. In my reading I am not looking for some big hidden message, I just want to read for enjoyment. Many books I read do have a message, but I am not much into historical stuff, though some interests me it is not my favorite subject.


But I think overall for me it is more the being told what to read and having a time line. I don't even join conventional book clubs for that reason. That is why GR book clubs are perfect. There are many conversations going on, if I don't read the chosen books I con't have to join in those particular conversations threads, but there are still plenty of options for me, such as this one here! lol


message 35: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ *LeONor*PapeRDoLL wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "as a teacher, i would say the reason we don't like these books is because most of them are from a time period long past and thus make it harder to read. the syntax is different, ..."

this is the way it works:
freshmen - 14-15 years
sophomore - 15-16
juniors - 16-17
seniors - 17-18

these ages depend on their birthdays.

so i teach 16 - 17 years old.


message 36: by Andrez (new)

Andrez (andrez-ssi) hmm thanks


message 37: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ o.k. so let me ask another question here. how many of you skipped the books your teachers asked you to read? or cliff noted your way through it? i have a friend with an impressive collection of cliff notes (that's online sparknotes, pink monkey, etc. for those born after 1986) and she loved to say she'd never read required books and still managed to make it to graduate number six in our class and graduate with honors from college.

explain.


message 38: by con-eh-leh (new)

con-eh-leh | 5 comments I am a very fast reader, and usually finish three books a day. It really bothers me when some people just scan like, three pages of a book, and say they are finished with it. I can finish a 600 page book within an hour and a half. I have finished all my school assigned reading books even before my teacher has. I retain all the information even if others think I do not.


message 39: by Andrez (new)

Andrez (andrez-ssi) thats impressive lemmypopster, im a little like you though i wouldnt mind to read as fast as you do, I retain everything or almost when i read a book

by the way that (scanning through a few pages) is one of the most annoying things related to books someone can do, (the other is skipping to the last page)


message 40: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ that is amazing. i could no way read so fast. but i read a book in about two or three days depending on my grading etc.


message 41: by Jordan (new)

Jordan (flyinglogicmonkey) | 150 comments I read fast, depending on the book. I finished eight library books in about a week. Maybe a bit more, because I had a paper to work on.

I've never skipped a book that I can remember, though I have friends who have.


message 42: by con-eh-leh (new)

con-eh-leh | 5 comments thanks guys


message 43: by con-eh-leh (new)

con-eh-leh | 5 comments i do not like our library books. They are made for little children about age 3 to 6. I have no interest in them, for I am 12 almost 13 in two weeks.


message 44: by Jordan (last edited Apr 05, 2010 05:43PM) (new)

Jordan (flyinglogicmonkey) | 150 comments My library has a good selection of books at the main branch, but the smaller branch near my house does not. (Yet, we often go to the smaller branch). The kids' books have a better selection than the YA, which looks something like: Twilight. Vampire something. Clique. Vampire something.
And so on and so forth.

Conley, when is your birthday? I turn sixteen in a few weeks...and of course, I'll ask for books. :)
Also, does your library have any kind of inter-library loan system? I know you can request a book from the main library, and pick it up at the smaller branch, at least in my city.


message 45: by con-eh-leh (new)

con-eh-leh | 5 comments My library has absoulutly almost nothing except for the Dr. Seuss books and Ranger Rick magazines.

My birthday is May 7th.


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

I hardly ever read a required reading. I don't like reading required reading. If I have a paper to do I'm the skimmer. I flip every 5 pages and go from there. Or just randomly open pages until I find key words for what I need to write. But I will usually read the book a year later and see why we were supposed to read it. Why I didn't read it to begin with? Because I had better books to read.


message 47: by Caitlin (last edited May 30, 2010 07:05PM) (new)

Caitlin | 13 comments Another old thread, but oh well :). Here's my two cents. First, I think Elizabeth is right about books being written in and about a different era. It's just plain hard to understand, sometimes. Second, I do think it has a lot to do with kids not liking being told what to read. And third, I don't think there a huge NEED for kids to LIKE the books they are assigned. I actually heard this in a Youtube video from YA author John Green (vlogbrothers on Youtube), and I think he's right about this... Kids need to be told what good writing is. they need to be told about the symbolism, about the authors intent. They need to learn how to analyze a book. You don't have to enjoy a book to be able to recognize and appreciate the writing style. John Green says it much better, and in a way that doesn't sound as harsh and makes much more sense.... Point being, assigned readings aren't just to introduce you to a good book, they are to help you learn how to think.

I'm 22, so not too far out of school. So those who are IN school, don't feel like I'm attacking you in some way. I always read the assigned books. Some I re-read later and liked them much better. It really WAS a maturity issue for some books. For some, because I was older, I had a better grasp on the antiquated language style.

That said, I'm in school to become an English teacher, and I hope the books I assign are ones that are liked. But, more than that, I hope I can teach them how to think, how to analyze, how to understand the author.

Also, maybe it should go back to being two classes: Reading and English. It was like this for me up until high school. Reading was more geared toward interest in literature and introducing classics. English was grammar and analyzying stories.


message 48: by Adrienne (last edited May 30, 2010 09:35PM) (new)

Adrienne (a-town) | 42 comments I completley agrre with you Caitlin. I really wish there was a literature class and a grammatical class. I always felt like I missed out on something when teachers would obsessively focus on one topic and almost totally ignore the other. (ie in my junior HS English class we never focused on any sort of grammar and only focused on literature, which I loved, and in senior English we focused almost solely on grammar, which I hated. But I always preferred the classes that held an equal balance of the two. I always felt like I learned so much more that way, and I believe a seperation of the two classes would really help to make that happen.)


message 49: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ interesting comments. as an english teacher, i will say, it is difficult to interweaves grammar with literature. but at times, the grammar plays into what the writer is doing to get his point across. this becomes increasingly difficult to teach because there are so many literary names attached to these devices.

i agree caitlin, we must teach students what to appreciate and what to regard as great writing. an example: when i teach The Scarlet Letterit is not always an easy sell. but i believe my enthusiasm for the writing and the content makes the students eager to read and share their ideas. the same is true for several of the essays i teach: MLK's "letter from a birminham jail" and thoreau's "Where I Lived and What I Lived For" come to mind.


message 50: by Joeanne (new)

Joeanne (mszminne) | 27 comments I think that they choose the books they do ,because the books are probably a good piece of literature. That really stresses or make us get what they are teaching.
Like i had to read farenheit451 ,Because we were learning about dystopian governments. What better book to get that topic across than this on.


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