Surviving English 101

Benefits of completing required texts outweigh not reading at all


Emma Delaplane

Found on a past student’s project, a trifold presents a quote from assigned reading Fahrenheit 451 decorates the wall of English teacher Angel James’ classroom.

From Of Mice and Men to dystopian novels, required readings are hard to get through. A guess to why might be the required part. But what is reading to college and the future? Only everything. 

Throughout a student’s high school years, the required reading from lower class grades stand to improve test scores. Therefore, opening up job opportunities and increasing the standard of living. In the Advanced Placement program, students learn how to write a synthesis essay, rhetorical analysis and argumentative essay; all requiring a large amount of evidence from novels and other sources.  And although it is an extremely tedious activity, finishing those required readings will enhance the writing abilities of almost every student in the AP program. There is no falling behind in AP classes; only a failing grades and dropout forms. I urge you to do the work. 

During high school, the plethora of required readings encourage students to learn about different techniques that could be used or reused in essays to come. In the future, it will be a make-or-break moment in areas of testing: success may come down to those required readings and how much you learned about them. I can testify that the AP tests are no joke. Students are expected to have a well-rounded education on literary works and stylistic devices. The extensive knowledge in this area is critical to success, not only high school, but in college and careers. 

After talking to senior English Literature and Composition teacher  Vanessa Riley, it became clear to me that in order to walk into a college classroom fully prepared to write any type of essay, students must already have a thorough understanding of various dialects and language barriers, such as those presented in The Scarlet Letter with organization, rare stylistic devices and rhetorical devices. Students are expected to already be familiar with the tools in the learning toolbelt, among those being grammar, spelling, punctuation, plot and more.

 In my experience, the mandatory readings, help to advance reading levels and maintain higher-level essays. In any essay written in high school and in college, students will not only need a thorough understanding of devices, figurative language, stylistic devices and rhetorical devices, students also need to provide evidence to their stance on the prompt. However, the mandatory readings enable students to stockpile diverse argumentative evidence ready to be pulled from if needed. Instead of students having to look for evidence on their own time, students need only to look back to the required readings in ninth, tenth and eleventh grade. 

Ultimately, books like Fahrenheit 451 and The Scarlet Letter provide an ample supply of credible material for my essays. This proves the importance of completing the assigned readings, and to a greater extent, to comprehend what teachers are trying pull from the readings. Although it may seem like it, teachers don’t give out homework for their enjoyment; they intend to prepare us for our futures.