- Books, Literature, and Writing
How to Pretend Read at School
Do you pretend to read in the classroom?
How often do you pretend to read?
A Note Before You Read
This article is intended for those in high school or below; not for college students. If you're in college and taking a course that requires you to read, pretending is not likely to get you a passing grade. Of course, I recommend actually doing the reading no matter what anyways, at any grade-level.
Students Pretending to Read
Shame on you, student, for looking for advice on how to pretend to read in school when you should be nourishing your mind with the literary genius set before you by your teacher. As a reader and lover of books, I frown at your desires to feign interest in that which I enjoy, even now that I am out of the classroom. However, I get it. Not everyone can sit for more than ten or twenty minutes completely immersed in what they're reading and not be distracted by the fact that their best friend is sitting just two seats away, eagerly awaiting that bit of gossip that's just itching to escape from your tongue.
It may be surprising to learn just how difficult it is to successfully pull off pretending to read in school. Perhaps its some kind of special radar built into their brains or their ability to sniff out those eyes that are darting from left to right along each page from those that are just staring blankly and counting the seconds to their freedom, but teachers always seem to figure out those fakes from the real readers in the audience one way or another.
Here are a few pieces of advice from a professional reader on how to fake one of these seemingly simple tasks set forth by almost every teacher you will encounter.
Tips for Pretending to Read
1. Research Class Reading List
You may not be willing to put in the time everyday to get that reading done for class, but, the best way to avoid embarrassment when it comes to discussion time is to do a bit of research. Learning the basic summary and analysis of the book goes a long way when it comes to group discussions or individual questions. Of course, there's always the dreaded essay as well.
Here are a few facts to get straight before going to class the next day:
- Basic Summaries: Look up the basic summary of the book or the chapters that were assigned. This way, you at least know what happened and aren't lost next period.
- Main Conflict: What is the story all about? Figure out what the main conflict is so that you know where things are going.
- Character Descriptions: Learn who is who in the novel and their basic part in the story line.
- Literary Devices: Find out about major literary devices such as symbolism and allusions that are found within the novel, or portion(s) of the novel, that are assigned to you so that you are prepared to talk about them in class.
- Quotes: What are some important quotes within the novel that are essential to understanding certain literary devices?
Why Reading is Important
Actually reading the text for a class is essential for those seeking more than just a passing grade. If you really want to just pretend to read, don't expect to achieve good scores in the classroom.
Sites for Book Summaries
Have you been caught?
Were you ever caught pretending to read in the classroom?
How to Skim Read
- How to Read Fast: Skim Reading
You may be surprised to learn that skim reading helps you read fast as well as comprehend what you're reading even better than before. Learn how to skim read and what it takes to be successful at it.
2. Use Your Resources
Of course, asking fellow students who already had that class/teacher will give you an even better understanding of just what to expect when you go to the class and have to pretend you did the reading. Find out what the basic requirements are and perhaps even get a summary of the book and its important parts.
3. Learn to Skim Read
Learning how to skim read becomes easier with practice. Once you become a real pro, this makes it easier to pretend to read for school because you know how to get essential information out of the text without actually reading it. Some of the things to keep in mind when skim reading include:
- Read the first sentence of each paragraph
- Skip any examples
- Don't read complete sentences
- Look at the titles, subtitles, pictures, diagrams, etc.
- Read everything that is in bold or italic type
Some may argue that skim reading is still reading but it most definitely isn't. When you skim read, you are only picking out the bare necessities of the article or book without actually getting into the meat of what the author is trying to convey. Unless you are really good at skimming, you are only really likely to get enough out of the text to successfully pretend you actually read it.
4. Movie Adaptations are not the Same as the Book
Even if you aren't a part of the reading world, you should be familiar with that common scenario of walking out of certain movies and hearing: "the book was so much better." This is why just watching the movie is a horrible way to try and pretend you've read the book for class. Make sure that if you do decide to watch the film adaptation, you understand what major changes were made and how it differs from its original version.
If movies are more your thing than novels, perhaps watching a documentary would be better. Yes, documentaries are not always the most exciting form of entertainment but perhaps you will find them easier to understand than the novel themselves. In addition, it may give you insight into the novel that will be important for discussions in school.
Keep in mind that watching documentaries are more useful than just watching the movie version but are still nothing like actually reading the book. If you choose this option, be aware that you will have to combine it with one of the other ones listed above in order to effectively pretend to read a book for school.
Alternatives to Reading A Book
For some people out there, reading books are just not their thing. Listening to them, however, is a whole other story. Perhaps trying out audio books instead of just reading them will make it easier to keep up with your class reading list.
Funny Video About Students Who Don't Care About School (Warning: Some Profanity)
5. Act Your Heart Out
If you are only pretending to read just so you can survive S.S.R. (Silent Sustained Reading) or whatever other designated reading time you are assigned, just go on and use those acting skills to their highest potential. In this case, all you have to do is keep your eyes on the text and let them move back and forth on the page, flipping pages occasionally to prove that you are "reading" the text.
Avoid falling asleep or trying to write notes because these activities make it obvious that you are not reading. As long as the book is propped up and your eyes are moving, pretending to read in school should be a breeze, especially if you aren't expected to answer any questions about the text afterwards.
Have fun pretending to read that next book for school! Just remember that, in the end, it's easier to suck it up and just do what you're assigned than just pretend to. Therefore, my best advice is to just read that assigned text so that you can participate fully in the class and get more out of the time you spend there.
© 2012 LisaKoski