The Student News Site of Stafford High School

SHS Publications


The Student News Site of Stafford High School

SHS Publications

The Student News Site of Stafford High School

SHS Publications

Both Sides of the Page

Assigned reading is either the best or the worst part of English. How do students and teachers feel about reading these 500-page books?
During+a+recent+4Y+period%2C+students+in+Mr.+Reza+Marvashtis+English+class+read+Born+a+Crime%2C+by+Trevor+Noah.+
photo by Tanaia Traynham
During a recent 4Y period, students in Mr. Reza Marvashti’s English class read Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah.

Over the course of everyone’s High School career, students will be flooded with all sorts of books. As the assigned books get handed out, they fill the room with an earthy scent as students flip through the pages. The teacher tells everybody that the first 30 pages must be read by the start of next class. Sighs of disappointment are a boomerang as they bounce against the walls. The class starts reading the book and there are mixed feelings among all, how does everyone feel reading both sides of the page?

Students at Stafford Senior High School have many opinions about assigned reading. Some don’t enjoy it, like Carlton Smith, a sophomore at Stafford High School. “I personally don’t like it. I don’t like being forced to read something, I’d rather be able to read on my own time.” This seems to be a common statement among students, feeling like they are being “forced” to read in their English classes. 

“I don’t like assigned reading. I feel like I’m being forced to read these books I don’t really enjoy. Reading books should be a fun activity, not something that you make someone do,” says Hannah Brecht, a sophomore at Stafford High School.

Some students don’t mind having to read a book for class. It’s just something they know has to happen. They can also see the benefits of assigned reading and the annoyance that some may have. “I’m pretty neutral about it, but it can be helpful in class if we are going to discuss something,” says Allison Beamon, a sophomore at Stafford High School.

 It can be both beneficial and tiresome. Going home each night, after being at school for most of the day, and having to read a set number of pages before the next class. All while Juggling homework from other blocks, studying for tests and quizzes, and making sure the class reading gets done. Sometimes the workload is too much; on the other hand, some people find joy in going home and cuddling up with a good book. 

I don’t like assigned reading. I feel like I’m being forced to read these books I don’t really enjoy.

— Hannah Brecht

Some students don’t mind assigned reading. They enjoy reading any books because they find happiness in all types of literature. Not everyone has a negative connotation associated with assigned reading. Olivia Rine, a sophomore at Stafford High School, explains, “personally I enjoy assigned books. I love reading them, and then doing projects based on them. I think they help students analyze the stories in an engaging way.”

Reading books as a class can bring people together. It can inspire conversation that you normally wouldn’t have with your peers. You get to deep dive into the words on a page as a group. “I feel like reading the same book at the same time allows us to analyze and find deeper meaning in that reading–I think reading the same book adds that common discussion that we normally wouldn’t have otherwise,” Mrs. Jessica Player-Gibbons, an English teacher at Stafford High School explained.

Teachers love when students engage in the reading and enjoy the book, but how do they feel when the students choose not to read? “It makes me very sad and frustrated, because I don’t know how to get them to read. I beg, I plead, I try to sell the books that we read as much as possible,” said Mrs. Stacie Stroud, an English teacher at Stafford High School. It can be hard for teachers when the time and work that they put into lessons are ignored, just because students do not want to open the assigned book.

Assigned reading is inevitable in most English classes, sometimes it’s not the best book, but every book has its ups and downs. Not every book you read has to be stellar. You never know, you might find yourself loving the book that was chosen for class. Don’t judge a book by its cover, you never know what might surprise you.

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About the Contributors
Bri Baker, Copy-Editor
Hello! My name is Bri Baker, and I am a new writer for the Smoke Signal; I just joined this year! I am so excited for this journey! I am in the Sophomore class. A fun fact about me is I make jewelry in my free time.
Tanaia Traynham, Smoke Signal - Photo Editor
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