Required Reading in High School

Why the curriculum needs it

Books lined up that are usually read in high school.

Linda Grover

Books lined up that are usually read in high school.

by Jazmine Clewis, Contributor

In high schools all around, many English classes give students a book to read and assignments to match. Central Kitsap is not exempt from this required reading. As students are given them each passing year, students also begin to wonder why they’re given.


As each year progresses, many students wonder why they have to read an assigned book and do assignments based on that book. Though students may wonder why, they don’t bother asking and would either not complain or complain. “We have standards for common core so you need to read multiple texts in order to understand and analyze,” says Debra Duane, English teacher at CK, “You’re wasting your brain you’ve been given if you don’t analyze. It’s like an athlete that chooses not to practice and watch from the sidelines. If you don’t read a book you can’t do the analysis.” Duane also adds that “if you don’t read nonfiction you cannot determine whether any argument or document has bias.”As per usual, when students are assigned anything that they dislike, a groan sweeps through the class. That’s no different when it comes to books that are assigned.


Freshman Cormac Burke also agrees and says that “if you’re assigned a book, you’re going to hate it no matter what. Students don’t like homework so, if its assigned it’s going to be hated regardless.” While students would mainly think in this sort of way, teachers have a different view of it.


Duane states that “I like giving the assignments because they deepen the ability to analyze and think independently.” There is a vast difference between the interest in reading books and reading assignments. The emotions that the books give close that gap a little.


These books give many different emotions but it’s usually complained that books for required reading are through as to be depressing to some sort of level. It’s usually discussed or pointed out that all assigned reading books are depressing. Burke says that “All the books assigned to me have been depressing. I think they do that so that they teach you a lesson of some sort. All the books I’ve read have been allegories. So I don’t think we’re reading books just to read books but to learn things like history and books that are both fiction and nonfiction.” These books having a more somber atmosphere and theme attached to other themes, the books help with students’ comprehension and analysis methods.


Due to the overarching tone of the books, Duane says that “The overall goal is to take the themes and to analyze and develop your mind so that you can make your own opinions. Also, if you have passion, you can support it with fact and not just emotion. It also teaches them to understand and respect different opinions while also knowing the difference between respect and agree.” With receiving assigned reading books year after year, change, or the want to change, begins to appear.

Burke would like that the teachers or the course makes “them better and new books and not just only classics. I think we should have a class vote to choose the books you want to read out of a small selection of them.” Although, whether or not changes would happen is uncertain.