It’s a question that has been on my mind ever since reading The Book Thief in class and wishing I could have read it on my own (because I knew I would have enjoyed it, it’s a pretty good book) instead of tearing apart each tiny detail and writing essays about it.
Another time I wondered about this is when I found out that some people study Pride and Prejudice for their exams. I was torn between wishing I could have studied it, and being glad I wasn’t studying it because it would probably end up ruining one of my favourite books.
I think that when a class is forced to read a book that they probably wouldn’t go near otherwise, it is not going to be enjoyable anyway. But the question is does reading it in class make it even worse? Reading books in class can be good because it helps you to understand them and their context more, and it can be interesting to analyse them. However in some cases, for example when reading a Shakespeare play, it can feel as if you are consuming the text in the wrong way. Shakespeare is meant to be performed and watched, not read and over-analysed, so of course reading it in class will not give the same enjoyment as watching it on stage.
Similarly, when studying books at the beginning of secondary school (before you start reading GCSE texts), sometimes (if you’re lucky) you might get to read a more modern novel (such as The Book Thief). While I think this can be good for engaging children more in English, it can still become boring. When the book chosen is one that some people might have wanted to read, reading it in class can become annoying because you read at a slow pace while analysing things that children might not find particularly interesting.
I like studying books, because I find it interesting, but I like reading them on my own more.
So, does reading books in class make them less enjoyable? Tell me what you think in the comments below.