Focus on the classics

Olivia Janik, Reporter

The LT English classes should revise its reading lists to create a curriculum that interests students and covers relevant themes by adding more classic literature.

The biggest problem Language Arts faces is keeping students interested in reading. Most high school students don’t even read the required books. The issue is that some of the books on the reading lists are outdated and their themes don’t apply to a teen’s world. Books teach students about different literary techniques and important themes in life and different perspectives on the world. Others are just obsolete. Not every student is going to love every book they read, but it is important that they learn from the books they read, and can hopefully enjoy more than a couple.

One way to resolve this problem is to incorporate classic comedy into class. Some LT students read two of William Shakespeare’s tragedies, but only one class touches on the comedies. Shakespeare’s comedies provide the same mastery of words that the tragedies do, and also provide a lighthearted and enjoyable form of entertainment. Shakespeare’s work is essential to any English curriculum because it gives students better insight to all types of literature and the mechanics of the English language and culture.“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” or “A Comedy of Errors” would fit well into the reading curriculum because they offer insight to the era. Students could analyze the humor in the books, which could prove to be more enjoyable than a focus on darker literature the classes are currently taught with.

Another way to improve the curriculum would be to add more classic books. Classic books aren’t just books that are old; they are books that examine universal themes of the human experience. Incorporating classics into the curriculum offers students the building blocks of our culture and society. Literature like that, gives students perspectives into different time periods, parts of the world, and ways of life. Novels such as Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” provide students with a better understanding of our history and give insight to how the world has progressed in regards to prejudice. This novel is currently only read by students in honor English, but it should be included in the reading lists for all curriculum.

Another novel that has similar importance is “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. This work is another prime example of valuable insight into how different issues involving race and justice were treated in the past and it educates readers on the importance of overcoming prejudice.

Most LT students read “To Kill a Mockingbird” when they were 13 or 14, and some have never read the novel. When kids are 13 or 14 they don’t have the ability to fully grasp the importance of the text, nor do they have the time to look in depth at the consequences the novel had. This piece of literature would be a great fit in the junior or senior reading curriculum because it would present students with the opportunity to study the text further in depth and have meaningful discussions about the changes in prejudice in the novel and in the world.

LT can’t tailor its reading list to fit every student, but it is important to make some updates to add more books with relevant themes. Modifications would be beneficial to the entire student body because it would provide them with a stronger understanding of literature and the world around them.