At some high schools, teachers have considered allowing each student to choose the books he or she will read for English class rather than requiring all students in class to read the same books. Some teachers support such a policy because they think students will greatly improve their reading skills if they read books they find interesting. Other teachers do not support such a policy because they think that students will learn more by participating in class discussion with others who have read the same books. In your opinion, should each individual student be allowed to choose the books he or she reads for English class?</p>
In a world where the Internet and television are taking over outside pleasure reading, teachers are anxious to get their students reading more. They think that by letting the students choose their own in-class reading material, they'll be more likely to find books interesting and will want to read more. However, this methodology will not work. Not only would it be impossible to have class discussions over reading material, there's no way for the teacher to be sure his students are gaining a full understanding for the taught material.
When a high school teacher assigns a book for his class to read, it corresponds with whatever he may be currently teaching. For example, he may assign "The Scarlett Letter" to go along with the chapter on symbolism. By letting the students choose their own books, he doesn't know if they understand his lesson because their choice of reading material might not enforce symbolism.
Also, it is common for many high school English classes to have a theme; for example, British Literature or American Literature. These courses already have a reading list to go with them; a student can't be reading "Nancy Drew" while studying Shakespeare. If the teacher assigned "Hamlet" or "Much Ado About Nothing", he'd be able to delve deeper into Shakespeare's style of writing in a way the students would understand.
Though some teachers may say that only by choosing their own books would students improve their reading skills, this is false. Teachers can assign any book they'd like in their classes, and students have to read them or else fail the class. It's not guaranteed that the students will like the book, but their reading skills can still improve by completing them.
One of the most effective ways of reinforcing a lesson is class discussion. How is it possible to have class discussion if the students are reading different books? If the same, assigned book was being read by the class, the teacher would be able to use class discussion as a form of helping his students comprehend and dig deeper into what they're reading.
Though students may be reading less and less outside of school, that does not mean teachers should start letting their high school students choose their own books to read. It will not only affect the learning environment by taking away class discussion, but it will deprive children of knowledge they could be gaining by reading books they would have normally never chosen.</p>