Due to ample amounts of homework, one may think that teenagers hardly read for fun anymore. Clearly, reading is an essential part of everyday life. Whether it is reading an article for entertainment on Buzzfeed or reading a dense history textbook for school, reading is inevitable in the life of a student. But what does the student awake at 1 a.m, still trudging through their homework, do with the idea of “reading a book for fun”?
To find out how students at Friends Academy really feel about reading, whether for English class or for pleasure, Inkwell sent out a survey. Fifty students responded from the Upper School. While the survey may not represent the majority accurately, the results still provide some insight into Friends’ Upper School students’ opinions on reading. For reference, out of the 50 participants, there were 13 freshmen, 13 sophomores, 14 juniors, and 10 seniors who took the survey. When asked if they like reading in general, 42 percent said sometimes, 40 percent said yes, and only 18 percent said no. So fear not, older generations, reading isn’t going extinct. Teenagers still like to read, we just need the time to do it.
Most of the questions in the survey veered more towards reading that is involved for homework in English class. On the topic of classic literature, 68 percent said the importance of reading classic literature depends on the book. Which, when you think about it, is true. Just because an author or book is seen to some as ground-breaking, others may not see it the same way and may not form that same connection with the book as others do. For instance, when asked which book(s) they’ve read in English class are favorites of theirs, there was a wide variety of answers. Finding a book that intrigues and awakens a love for reading is very subjective to the reader.
The copious amounts of homework may be a source of the sometimes-negative connotation with reading. It is easy for students to put off their reading assignments until the end of the night, and consequently, when they begin, they may find the task too time-consuming and simply give up. That being said, when asked how long it takes to complete their English reading assignments, 30 percent said 30 minutes and 28 percent said 45 minutes. Thirty to 45 minutes is a very reasonable amount of time for completing reading homework. However, 16 percent of the 50 students taking the survey wrote that it takes them an hour or more to do their reading assignments. An hour or more is quite frankly an overwhelming amount of time considering students’ other homework assignments. This may contribute to the the fact that 27 out of 50 students (54 percent) said they do skip their English reading assignment because there isn’t enough time to read and do their homework for other classes.
There are a lot of factors involved in how reading assignments can become less of an obstacle and more of a simple task. At the end of the survey, the students were given the chance to write suggestions about reading assignments. Some students wrote they would enjoy reading books that were written by more diverse authors. Others wrote that in their experience, having more than 20 pages of reading can make them feel overwhelmed (especially if the English homework involves reading as well as writing). When it comes to annotating while reading, some wrote they find it more helpful than answering questions about the reading while others wrote that it is not as effective for them. The general consensus was that it needs to be taken into account that for some students, the reading takes longer.
It would be helpful to do more reading and analyzing texts in class. So, with these suggestions put into consideration, it is likely that the number of students who complete their reading assignments will increase. Ultimately, reading benefits all of us. It is a way of looking into a situation and experiencing it second-hand. Reading is amazing and should be used in a positive, productive way.