Assigned or Self-Selected Novels

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The purpose of a literature essay is to examine and evaluate a work of literature. Students across the globe have to produces essays on a novel in school. The only problem is what if the book assigned was not interesting. Should students be able to choose their book for the essay?

“If I ever allow students to choose their own book, there still would have to be some exceptions because of the curriculum,” English teacher, Ms. Sunderland explained.  Many teachers do not let students choose books for novels because the school gives them a curriculum they have to follow.

Mr. Bruce, the AP English teacher allows his student to choose a novel for an essay, because “students are more inspired to write if they are invested” in any book, they choose. Being more invested in writing helps with getting a better grade on the essay.  Students tend to do better because they choose what they were reading.

“I am very open about student’s selections,” Mr. Rheinhardt, another English teacher said. For the freshman they have to do a lot of self-selected-reading and can choose from non-fiction or fiction. For his senior students, he gives them a choice of three readings for their rhetorical analysis essay.

Teachers do have to assign books for students due to the curriculum but they still are interested and allowing students for at least one essay to choose a novel or readings to show what type of writer the students are. Students also feel that allowing them to choose a novel will benefit the essay and show their skill.

“I would actually want to read the book,” sophomore, Hayley Ditmar confessed. Hayley feels that if she had the choice of a book, it would be less stressful because the book could be more relatable. Being prepared will be easier, especially getting quotes and examples that supports the main claim of the essay. Hayley is not the only student that feels this why, there is also junior, Katie Cover and senior, Javel Gramling.

Katie, said, “Just choosing a book makes the essay seem more interesting to type,” and Javel agreed with her. With these opinions, choosing a novel is the winner but teachers cannot always allow that pleasure to students.

Many feel that the pleasure of choosing their own novel given to students should happen a lot more, but the curriculum is stopping that from happening for many essays. When teachers do give the chance to choose a novel, there are still some expectations that students have to follow. Well, many feel like that should change because, self-selected novels help students receive a better grade. In addition, writing about something that is interesting and understandable causes a writer’s best works.

“The most important thing when starting out with essay writing is to find a voice with which you’re comfortable. You need to find a persona that is very much like you, but slightly caricatured,” said by essayist and reporter, Anna Fadiman.

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