Reading: literature lessons vs leisure

Even though I would still  regard everyday reading as a hobby, reading for educational purposes can really be tough sometimes. This blog post is based on my opinions of reading for school/college compared to reading as a hobby. Hopefully some of my tips will help fellow literature students along the way and if you can relate to my opinions then that’s just a bonus.

What are my opinions about reading for educational purposes?

Reading books for Literature can seem very tedious. Firstly there is the dreaded book list that torments so many students. It takes away the freedom of choosing, making the task of reading seem like a chore. Even when the assigned book seems somewhat interesting, it is often analysed in such detail that reading it no longer seems so enjoyable. As a result even enthusiastic readers struggle to finish a short novel most of the time.

However I don’t think reading for literature lessons is always negative because it can be really useful as well. It allows you to discover books that you would never have considered otherwise and teaches you vital skills. Also before studying literature I wouldn’t have been able to critically analyse texts which is now essential for many of my essay based subjects.

What are my opinions about reading as a hobby?

Unlike reading for educational purposes, reading as a hobby offers much more freedom of choice. You can allow yourself to read at your own pace, which is always a bonus, if you’re a slow reader. Plus it’s a much more relaxing experience which is why I often read after a long day at college.

As I read during a lot of my spare time, I struggled to think of the downside of it. I eventually realised that it can sometimes limit the variations of books you actually read. This may not apply to everyone but I know that I personally read books which are usually quite similar. Since my favourite genre of book is dystopian, I often forget to explore what other genres have to offer. Therefore I often overlook other books which I might have found interesting.

What are my experiences of reading for educational purposes?

Over the past few years I have had to read books such as ‘To kill a Mockingbird’, ‘Animal farm’, ‘The Colour Purple’, ‘Wuthering heights’ and many Shakespeare plays. At first I thought that I hadn’t enjoyed any of the books listed above because I mainly associated them with essay deadlines and stressful exams. It was only after I had finished my exams that I reflected on the books I had read, inevitably realising that some of them were actually quite good. That is why I intend to re-read the novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ as I think I would appreciate it more without having to focus on analysing it.

There are also novels I read at college that I would not consider re-reading. Take for example ‘Wuthering Heights’,which I wasn’t overly fond of. I found the book to be rather frustrating throughout. The lead characters seemed quite irritating making it impossible to relate to them. Also the repetition of names made it very confusing. Despite reading this novel for the purpose of passing my literature exam, I don’t think this affected my opinion of it. I think it would have been unlikely for me to have enjoyed it regardless of whether or not I had read it by choice.

What are my tips for Literature students at school?

Having now finished GCSE and As-Level literature, I feel as if I have adjusted to the sometimes demanding reading schedule. I have realised that alternating between reading a book of my choice and my assigned book at the same time is really helpful. It allows you to continue reading as a hobby whilst also completing the work on time for the deadlines.

Reading during your free time may always seem more worthwhile because it’s something you have chosen. However reading for educational purposes, especially for subjects such as literature, is a necessity which can’t be forgotten. Just remember sometimes being encouraged to read a book can help you discover genres you hadn’t previously considered. If you remain positive about what you have to read for school, then it may not seem so bad after all.

Until next time keep dreaming x


One thought on “Reading: literature lessons vs leisure

  1. I liked doing both. In the Summer is my favorite time to read for pleasure. Go read in the park or someplace by the warm sun. I loved my horror English class where we read all horror novels. There were a lot of good ones like Frankenstein. I also liked To Kill A Mockingbird, I liked The Great Gatbsy. There were a lot of great books I read in school that I got a lot out of them one was Gatsby.


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