The government decides and chooses which books that students should read and then have an examination on through out school. Both teachers and students do not get a say in what they read or what is their set reading list. Students need reading material that will keep their interests and something that will be memorable for them so that they will remember important elements from the book, for examinations.
There is nothing worse than having to read a book that the student has little or no understanding of and no interest in the book either. The student will not be motivated to pick up the book and read it to the end and produce book reports weekly on their progress. However if students were offered more interesting books for their reading list, both the teachers and Governments may see a marked improvement in a students progress.
Teenage students do not need a book which is overly sentimental they want a book with a bit of action, a good story, interesting characters and above all a good plot. In choosing a set reading list for students, who better to ask than ex- students who have studied the reading lists.
I have studied English Literature for a long time now, from senior school, through to college and as an undergraduate. The classics are great but honestly, students need a little light hearted book with depth, comedy and a good plot. Now the reading list does not have to be strayed from too far from the familiar world of the classics, such as the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare and almost every student I know has studied Christopher Marlowes Dr. Faustus.
All the above authors are brilliant and engaging, but some of the novels can be long, heavy, lacking in humour and overly sentimental to the extreme.
John Steinbeck is such a refreshing change for students as is Angela Carters ‘Wise Children’; other refreshing books which should be on a reading list are works from the Shelley’s, Lord Byron, Tennyson and Orwell. These are just some examples of works that have been really well received from some of my own classes in education.
Students don’t need to have romance and heavy devotions all the time, Frankenstien is a great change, Of Mice and Men and Wise Children are all really interesting books which are not Romeo and Juliet and not Faustus who has sold his soul to the devil.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is also a wonderful book with sub plots, the tragedy that teachers seem to love, the heaviness of Dickens but more light hearted and excellent characters. Rather than giving students a huge reading list, one great book is so much better than a lot of classic books. If one good book sticks with a student than surely that is half the battle. Both student and teacher are happy, with a student interested in reading and teacher getting good exam results.