Assigned Reading: Enjoyable Or Boring?


Elena Krueper, Staff Writer

Whether it’s a classic book like The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald or a frightening historical account like Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper, students must read many different kinds of books for their classes. 

Unfortunately, reading isn’t exactly a pleasure for some, and sometimes, these books go considerably unappreciated. So, what makes an enjoyable book for students to read in class?

Kora Robles Mraz, a sophomore in Mr. Michael Henderson’s English 10 Honors English class, explained, “My favorite book that we read in English class was Night by Elie Wiesel because it had a  terrific plot. I also enjoyed the story’s climax.” Continuing on, Robles Mraz adds, “My favorite part of the book was probably the ending, because it was satisfying and incredibly written.” Night is an autobiography written by Elie Wiesel that tells the story of his life during World War II. Wiesel was only about 15 years old when his Jewish family was torn apart by the Gestapo. He and his father were transported to work in numerous Concentration Camps for years, and the book details all of the horrendous acts that Wiesel had to witness during his time there. This is another reason why the book is so touching for students. Robles Mraz went on to say, “I enjoyed this book because it focused on a very different topic compared to what I discussed in my previous English classes. I found learning about the Holocaust to be interesting and meaningful.” By studying crucial parts of history such as the Holocaust, this book allows students to further understand what people like Wiesel and his father went through in a unique narrative, which is why many students loved it so much. 

In addition to her previous statements, however, Robles Mraz added, “I hated reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho this year. The story just dragged on, and it was one of the most boring books that I have ever had to read for a class.” The Alchemist is a novel that follows the main character, Santiago, as he makes his way to the pyramids. The book talks about the importance of Santiago fulfilling his personal legend and finding the treasure that is supposedly buried in Egypt. This book did not seem to intrigue as many students as Night did, according to Robles Mraz. This is because it did not have the same authenticity, nor did it have the same sense of historical relevance. Students tend to like books that talk about serious topics, have relatable/crucial themes, and hold significant meaning–The Alchemist simply falls short of those standards. 

Assigned reading is definitely a wonderful lesson for students, as it encourages them to read, teaches vital themes, and incites exciting class discussions. Finding a book that matches both the curriculum requirements and captivates students, though, is an extremely tough mission to do. Therefore, when teaching and reading books for a class, teachers should opt for novels that hold more historical significance and/or books that have key concepts that are more relatable to students in order to make the process as enjoyable and fun as possible for everyone involved.