Thoughts on Assigned Reading

Katherine Marciniak

Staff Writer

Katherine is an over-caffeinated avid reader, writer and college student. She was featured in the anthology Once Upon an Apocalypse, and loves to beta read and edit when she has the opportunity. She’ll do more impressive things after she’s finished her tea…and this next chapter.

Winston Churchill supposedly said, “I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” And dude, I relate so hard.

There’s nothing I like more than poring over a textbook, inevitably grumbling about it, and having some friend say “What’s wrong? I thought you liked reading?”

Reading textbooks is reading, but it’s also tedious, dry reading.

For me, anything that’s assigned is never nearly as much fun or as interesting as something that I choose to read on my own. I think that’s true for most people, actually. So basically what that means is that there are few books I’ve been assigned to read that I’ve actually enjoyed. This includes textbooks and novels.

Maybe I dislike assigned reading because it is forced learning. Usually, it’s not a subject I’m interested in, or it’s the fact that I’m being forced to extrapolate from and analyze texts that I’m reading for the first time. Analyzing anything without first understanding it is extraordinarily difficult. Given the time constraints and magnitudes of some school projects, the possibility of reading something twice in order to analyze it better is sometimes nonexistent.

I’d love to love the reading I’m given in school. I start off school years optimistically: I’ll be learning something new and exciting! I love doing that!

And then the first reading assignment comes up and I have to drag myself through it. Basically, although I like to read, and I like to learn, I really don’t like being taught.