Should students be forced to read the same books that were taught 20 years ago?

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  1. Michelle Taylor profile image74
    Michelle Taylorposted 6 years ago

    Should students be forced to read the same books that were taught 20 years ago?

    Even though it wasn't that long ago I remember in high school being forced to read very old and outdated books. Books that were extremely difficult to relate to.  My mother is a teacher and the curriculum demands that the same books I read 15 years ago are still being taught today.  Should students still have to read the same books like Lord of the Flies and Catcher in the Rye or can more modern books replace them?

  2. tmbridgeland profile image81
    tmbridgelandposted 6 years ago

    Catcher in the Rye? No, because it is boring and dumb. Lord of the Flies? Yes, it is a great book. Kids should not be asked to read mediocre books, but great books yes, no matter how old they are. It isn't the age, it is the quality that counts. Try reading The Wind In The Willows. Plenty old, but really great. My kids loved it.

    Not every book is right for everyone. If you didn't like Lord of the Flies, fine. But teachers should challenge kids to read good books instead of just whatever happens to be currently popular.

    1. cat on a soapbox profile image96
      cat on a soapboxposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      What one person finds mediocre may be another's favorite. We can't always have it our way. I've had to read both great and truly boring books, but I STILL love to read. It teaches discipline.

  3. conradofontanilla profile image79
    conradofontanillaposted 6 years ago

    "Forced" is some heavy word in education. I would rather persuade. Anyway, I am not fond of novels or short stories although I have in my shelves Joseph Conrad's "Lord Jim." I read Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea." I was told fiction reflects the author's perception of his milieu. I remember that the Liliputans are not real people and the novel is a parable. Books may remind us or tell us of other times. Modern authors have different perspectives even if they strive hard to be different just to be different. I read "Lady Chatterley's Lover" and the "Plumed Serpent" of D.H. Lawrence because my professor told us he is one of the greatest authors of the twentieth century. I was trying to  plumb what Lawrence meant by "blood" until I came to read what mysticism means. I also read that Bertrand Russell once associated with D.H. Lawrence which I think is an unlikely tandem as Russell is logical and Lawrence is mystical. Then I read that Russel parted ways with D.H. I would wonder if he did not.
    If there are books that should be read even some 20 years had passed, "Wisdom of the West" is one because it tells of people's thoughts from ancient times, and Russell said that he was writing it through his bias. At least i know that I should guard against his bias assuming I had the equipment. Another book is "What Is Science?" by Norman Campbell who wrote it in 1921. It may not give a complete answer to his question but it gives a glimpse of his shortcomings now that we have advanced in science.
    I would like to have a copy of Johannes Kepler's fiction of celestial bodies to compare it with Isaac Asimov's fiction, or to J. Klugger's "Apollo 13." It is lamentable that a lot of trees had been wasted to print books of spycraft and sex or Starr's report on the escapades of a president, which is a testimony to the efficiency of the printing press.. At least these trees could have served to mitigate climate change.

  4. cat on a soapbox profile image96
    cat on a soapboxposted 6 years ago

    There are some classics that teach timeless lessons, but these books should definitely be integrated with more contemporary ones.  Think how poorly generations would relate to each other if we didn't have some commonalities in our educations.

  5. Michelle Taylor profile image74
    Michelle Taylorposted 6 years ago

    I agree that there are certain books that are timeless. Personally I enjoyed reading To Kill a Mockingbird, The Outsiders and Joy Luck Club in School. I also think that I could have survived my education without ever reading books like The Pearl and Of Mice and Men. I don't necessarily think all the books that have been taught over the years should be cast aside, just perhaps some selections could be updated a bit.

  6. ackman1465 profile image60
    ackman1465posted 6 years ago

    If one were to follow your question to its "logical" conclusion, I guess we would discontinue reading Shakespeare, or "Moby Dick" or any of the other "classics"... 

    What the heck... why don't we get a re-write on your algebra I text while we're at it????

    Some books... some topics.... some style, syntax, thoughts, feelings, emotions are TIMELESS.... and the age/form of the book - the writing - are of little or no importance......

    P.S.  If it weren't for "Cliff Notes" (my favorite form of "literature") I never would have made it through high school... never mind college!!!!!

  7. StegToDiffer profile image59
    StegToDifferposted 6 years ago

    The book selection in English classes needs a major upgrade.  The Scarlet Letter is the most painful reading experience I've ever had.  People may say that young people need to read these books to relate to older generations, but I think that fostering a young person's love for reading is more important.  When you force these poor kids to read A Scarlet Letter, you're sapping any desire to read right out of them.
    I wrote a whole Hub about it, if anyone feels elaboration on that answer is needed: … igh-School

  8. Becky Penn profile image56
    Becky Pennposted 5 years ago

    No.  With the vast number of books available today and more coming out each year, it would be beneficial to read some of the newer authors.  A comparison of two books, one from an older author such as H.G. Wells and one from a newer author could lead to discussions on why each fit the category of Classical or Fantastic, etc.  Comparison of the two would also allow for changes in environment due to the technologies of today, real-life experiences in different time periods as reflected in the writing of the novels.  In this way the students could glean more meaning from the older classics and learn to appreciate life on a different level of understanding.


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