English syllabi need more modern literature (Editorial)

The reading options of English classes need to change in order to accommodate students interest in reading.

Clara Cozort

The reading options of English classes need to change in order to accommodate students’ interest in reading.

SarahBeth Davis, Perspectives writer

It is rumored that Mark Twain once said, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

In the same way, we shouldn’t let English class ruin the books we read. With nothing against English teachers themselves, it’s hard for some of us to enjoy something we must do for a grade. Forcing students to read books lacking modern relevance or interest makes them less open to literature, in and out of school.

I do believe certain book types do need to stay in the syllabus, so that students can comprehend poetry and prose, and be able to read works in older or different dialects. However, more modern and popular books should be put in as well, as a redeeming factor for those less willing to read. This is hard to manage though, as newer books have an unfair stigma against them in many literary communities.

Classic literature, such as the older plays and epics, do form a backbone for English syllabi; yet some of this reading gets lost and feels dry, especially due to the outdated language.  It is far from a good idea to remove all of these because they are essential to education. However, incorporating newer and more popular books into the syllabi would enhance many students’ experience in class, and hold the interest of those less willing to read.

Recently, Young Adult literature is starting to gain recognition and respect, particularly John Green and Chuck Palahniuk. Their books tend to interest high school readers, while also having literary substance.

Being more personally connected or drawn to the story will make it much better for the reader. In addition, academic consumption of modern and relatable literature could make English class more enjoyable for all students.