Reading at East: a lost art?

Sean Devlin ('07)/ Eastside Staff

It’s a stormy weekend afternoon and there is nothing to do-nothing on the television, and all of the video games are beat.  Will the boredom succumb to the reading of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations?  Or will it just be shoved away like every other book?  Reading has been a means of entertainment to many students, but it has also been disregarded by others due to their heavy workload, which persistently hinders them.

When reading, the expected reader sensation is the leaving of the regular world to visit a more interesting and fantastic environment, where the mundane does not exist.  It is also used to relax during the sometimes stressful times of the academic year. 

“I like reading because I love to read,” said Mindy Shipon (‘09). 

On the other side, not all students have the same perspective about reading, especially when it comes to in-school reading.  The thought of having too much work has even stopped reading to be done for entertainment and school. 

“I haven’t had time to read since the beginning of sophomore year…and I read more than most and I actually would have read about 20 books by now,” said Ben Branfman (‘09).

Students are also discouraged by the reading materials given out by the school.  The required reading is often referred to as lacking in interest and too lengthy.  Some students also believe that because the school “assigns” a book, it creates an unwillingness to read it.  “The book is talked about in class, I have enough information…I can still get good grades on tests and essays without actually reading,” said Stephanie Eglin (‘07).

Even for the students who do read, it is difficult to manage their time when they feel bogged down with large quantities of work with additional reading, which is definitely not alleviating the situation.  Shipon believes that if the teachers want their students to read, they give too much work, which prevents reading, even on the personal time of the student.  Others blame themselves for the inability to read.

“I think I have enough time to read but I don’t use it,” said Melanie Nijares (’10).

On the other side of the spectrum, teachers are frustrated because students are not reading the books that they assign.  It proves difficult in discussions and assessments when a student or an entire class has not read a book, which usually results in failure or a waste of a class period due to the lack of knowledge on the subject of the book.  Teachers argue that the reading is part of the workload, and should not be regarded as something extra.

“I don’t think there is an excuse for a student to not read…I think it’s a reasonable request to complete his or her own reading,” said Mr. Canzanese, an East English teacher.

The amount of reading increase or decrease depends on the students’ thoughts and the work that they receive.  It also depends on the willingness to read.

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