Students, Reading, and Sparknotes


Stuart Geller and Nick Fonzi

We interviewed a high school English teacher to find out what could be causing issues around cheating. First, we spoke to Mr. Sargent, who teaches the honors and AP section of English at the high school. He believes that most students do read their assigned books, yet it varies by the “time of year which book they have been assigned.”  When questioned on whether or not his students read on their own, Mr. Sargent replied, “The vast majority do not.” He stated that “most have too much going on in their lives, at least for books.” This is understandable as most students who are in high school are very busy. However, there has to be a better solution than Sparknotes.

When it comes to reading, students don’t get the opportunity to discover books. Making other media more enticing to look at. There are good books, and you do learn a lot and become smarter when reading. According to Reader’s Digest, reading books in general “can promote quick thinking.” However, when you are assigned books by your teachers, most students will brush it off and do what they can to get it done.

The second English teacher we talked to was Ms. Ellrott who informed us of a refurbished reading curriculum that could be intact at Ipswich High School in the near future. Ms. Ellrott told us about the “recent push for choice reading in class.” This new curriculum would allow students to have more opportunities to read books that interest them rather than being stuck reading a book they may never pick up. Ms. Ellrott also talked about how the American Literature and English 10 classes that she teaches have designated times in class to read. She firmly believes that reading is necessary for teenagers.

We spoke to senior Trevor Doolan. When asked about the change in curriculum, he said, “I think the new curriculum would be nice because most students aren’t interested in the books we have to read.” Trevor mentioned that he finds it difficult to find time with all of his activities. We also asked Trevor how he would feel about having class time to read books. He responded, “I think the class time to read a book of choice would be nice but not during R-block.” Trevor’s response correlates with what Mr. Sargent stated previously.

Reading will always be essential for social and mental development in students. It’s hard to generalize English classes and reading in them as a whole because there is a large variety of courses that you can take. Keep in mind that every teacher teaches differently as well. The books that we read in class are all chosen for a reason and teach valuable lessons. In the end, it will always fall on the student to get the reading done, but for some, it would be a positive change if they could pick their books.