Why Required Reading in High School Is A Good Thing.

I followed this link from Bookriot yesterday to this article from CrackedFour Ways High School Makes You Hate Reading.

I disagree with every single point.

Here’s what I think.  If you already hate reading; if you’ve determined reading is a waste of time, or if you only want to read books like Twilight, you will probably hate many, if not most of the books that are required reading in high school.  If you enjoy reading, if you love reading, if you are passionate about reading, chances are you are already familiar with most of the books on the list or, at the very least, you will appreciate the authors’ contributions to our literary heritage.  Besides, if the reading lists my kids brought home from their high school English classes are any indication, many popular genre-type books make the cut every year.

I think there is nothing more important than literacy.  Let me say the word again… LITERACY.  Learn to read.  Read lots and lots of books in a variety of genres.  Increase your brain power, open your eyes, expand your world.

From Love Comes Softly:

Missie Davis:  Readin’ ain’t no adventure.

Marty Claridge:  When you read you can have every adventure.  In the pages of a book you can be anyone you ever dreamed of being… They can never tell you you’re too young to slay the dragon — because it all happens right here, where it’s safe.

Ever read any Edgar Allen Poe?  If not you might give him a try.  I imagine he’s one of those poor benighted authors on the high school required reading list.  At least he was when I was in high school.  Hey, these were the bedtime stories my father read to me when I was in grade school.  Mother’s milk, folks.


The Murders In the Rue Morgue.

 The Fall of the House of Usher.

The Pit and the Pendulum.

The Premature Burial.

The Purloined Letter.

The Masque of the Red Death.

The Gold-Bug.

The Cask of Amontillado.

The Tell-Tale Heart.

Annabel Lee.

The Bells.

The Raven.




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14 Responses to Why Required Reading in High School Is A Good Thing.

  1. yoshi says:

    Read Hemingway. You will be glad you did.

  2. yoshi says:

    I read 4 ways that high school makes you hate reading or I attempted to. Early on she trashes The Sun Also Rises which borders on sacrilege. When she used the word “boring” 3 times in one paragraph I bailed. Poor misguided blogger with too short an attention span to appreciate a novel where nobody becomes a werewolf, beheads a zombie, drinks blood, has incredible sex or casts a spell in the first 30 pages.

  3. Amber Skyze says:

    Poe was a reading requirement for me in high school. I couldn’t get enough. I read and re-read, The Fall of the House of Usher/

  4. I agree with required reading. If a kid’s parents don’t push reading, that’s the only way some will see what’s out there. Kid #3 had a hard time learning to read. It was a struggle watching him get so frustrated. He loved Physics so I went to the nearest college. A lovely professor there gave us two college physics text books. Son was in the 6th grade and taught himself to read with them. High school required reading expanded his range of books.

  5. My kids are readers, Steph. Math is crazy difficult for two out of the three. One, on the other hand, is a math wizard. I understand what you did – and I’m sure your son is glad it worked. Not everyone has to read everything, but reading is important. Yes, I do get it. My youngest works best with figures – but now she reads all the time.

  6. Oh yes, Amber, The Fall of the House of Usher. I love Poe!

  7. Hi Yoshi. I’ve read all of Hemingway and I like him, but I must say I love The Old Man and the Sea. What a riveting tale! By the way, I agree with you.

  8. I read my way through the elementary, junior high and high schools’ libraries and felt oh-so-smart in my high school English classes. Then I got a major wake-up call during my freshman year in college when a professor gave an amazing lecture about the importance of understanding Steinbeck’s influence on literature.
    I remember whispering to the student next to me, “Who is Steinbeck?”
    I had grown up in a southeastern Kansas town that had decided to follow the ban on Steinbeck’s books in the schools. Away at college, I was an English major, ashamed of what I didn’t know, and really at a disadvantage. I was takig a full load that semester, but I also privately read everything by John Steinbeck. It opened amazing mental doors.
    Thanks for touting the reading lists, Julia.
    Really. Thank you.

  9. Marylin – in my opinion Steinbeck is the greatest American author of all time. East of Eden is one of my very favorite books.

  10. sandra cox says:

    I was a total bookworm. Even read during classes.

  11. I came from the era of “new education:” grammar classes were nebulous, but I did learn a couple of languages. Math pfft!
    But in reading we were so dang slow. Spending a month reading Romeo and Juliet. YAWN.
    When I was preparing to leave HS early I asked my English teacher for a reading list he thought would help me. He was unnerved and it took him forever, but he did give me one and I read all the books I could find. Unfortunately I had no one with whom I could discuss their meaning, structure and such. I’ve always felt lacking in that regard.

  12. Now that would be pretty boring, Steph. We did half a year on Shakespeare – and I fell in love with many of his plays and sonnets. Sounds like your teacher had some limitations.

  13. anny cook says:

    From the time my mother died when I was ten, I devoured books. Without books, I don’t know how I would have coped. Reading is the single most important skill a child can acquire (or an adult!) because all other skills can be acquired by reading (and practice).

  14. I’m a reading fool, Anny. I know what you mean.