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Studying Literature Kills the Joy of Reading

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I am a victim of a crime. And today, in front of all of you I will confess…I haven’t read a full book since Garde 10. I’m not going to lie, the last book I think I’ve ever read word to word, front to back was back in grade 10, where I’m pretty sure the teacher indirectly threatened us with a detention if we didn’t. Yes, it took me a while, 2 months to be exact and yes I did finish it after the assessment was over. However, if I enjoyed it or not is a whole other question.

What happened to the fun storytime sessions? What happened to the bookclub meetings every month? What happened to the prizes for the person who reads the most books? Where is the place where we voluntarily come to read? From the choice of text to the close reading aspect. These are the reasons why studying discourages students to read for joy.

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Firstly, the type of novels studied increases the discouragement on students on not reading. With books like To Kill a Mockingbird in the curriculum, there are 4 main reasons on this book should be replaced:

  1. students couldn’t relate to the storyline
  2. Some can barely understand the language used
  3. Simply weren’t exposed to such texts previously and
  4. 21st century students reading texts that were set in the 1930s is just not the best idea. Further, this instantly raise questions like how useful are the lessons in To Kill a Mockingbird to a 21st century audience, particularly focussing on students. And how can these 21st century students quite possibly **ßemphasise** relate to a privileged daughter off the Old South … also known as Harper Lee. Due to these classic books, students like myself find it difficult to understand them and lose interest in reading. With a better choice or a wider selection of novels, for example some with narrative style writing definitely will interest students into reading. However, I am glad to see some change in the curriculum.

Moving on, another severely damaging aspect to study literature is the necessary close reading and examining. I don’t remember the last book I’ve ever read for pleasure. That may prove two things:

  1. Every book I’ve ever read has to be for an assessment and
  2. I may a terrible memory. Whenever, students read a novel in class, it needs to be analysed. They cannot read at school for fun. So instantly, whenever they pick up a book, they are flooded with bad memories on their last assessment, killing the joy of reading. An international study shows that Australian children are still struggling with reading. Yes, testing them can help identify their flaws. But will they try their best in every test when they are clearly struggling and simply not enjoying it? Due to this study, it is evident that once students approach adulthood, they eventually stop reading. 31% non-reading students increases to 43% when in adulthood. With 75.1% of those consisting of males.

However, literature today shapes the world. It results to better vocab, writing skills – something which none of us can get enough of – and awareness of the real world. It is a form of art but in letters, a gateway into different cultural and historical ideologies.

Therefore, studying literature destroys the love of reading due to the discrete selection of texts and the analyzing aspect of reading.

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