The Discussion Post – Assigned Reading

So Rae over at bookmarkchronicles runs a meme every Monday called This or That. This week’s question was

Have you ever read The Giver by Lois Lowry? & Did you read the rest of the quartet?

Now I’m going to hold my hands up and admit I’d never heard of the book, let alone knew it was part of a series but it seems like in parts of the US at least it’s a common read in schools. This got me thinking about what I had as assigned reading during my time at school. Now for me school is now further away than I care to admit, and I know that GCSE and A Level courses have changed in the ten or so years since I sat mine, but I’m not sure how the changes have affected the number or types of texts you have to study currently.

I have GCSEs in English Literature and English Language, and an AS level in English Literature from what I remember I really didn’t have to study that many texts for either. As I said it was a while ago so I might have forgotten something but from what I remember  for GCSE I had to study two plays – A Cream Cracker Under The Settee and Romeo and Juliet – a couple of novels – Great Expectations and To Kill A Mockingbird – and a bunch of poems. For AS English we read The Miller’s TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale and the plays The Taming of the Shrew and Comedians.

Looking back it strikes me that studying 4 texts and a handful of poems really isn’t a lot for a 2 year GCSE course, especially when some of the coursework I did counted towards both my English language and English Literature GCSEs! I’m really interested to know how things have changed in England – and how different things are in other places – For those in Scotland do you have to read more for National 5s and Highers? I’m not really sure how the system works in the US but do you guys have longer list of texts to study for your English courses?

I was lucky that I got on really well with my English teacher and she gave me a lot of other recommendations to broaden my reading which I will always be grateful for, things like The Poisonwood Bible, The Color Purple, Beloved and I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings. Looking back I’m also convinced that it was no coincidence my class was the only one to study To Kill A Mockingbird out of the 13 or so classes in my year group – So to anyone else in my English class I apologise, the book was at least twice as long as anything else on the list – but you did get to read an amazing book so maybe I’m not sorry after all.

Did you have to read a lot for school? Were there any books you really struggled to get through even though you knew you had to read them? What about a book that you had to read that you now absolutely love? I guess as book bloggers what you read didn’t put you off reading, but are there any authors or genres that you tend to avoid now? Let me know in the comments!


7 thoughts on “The Discussion Post – Assigned Reading

    1. Sarah

      They’re a qualification in England – GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. We don’t have High School Diplomas or sit SATs. When we’re 14 we get to choose which subjects we want to study for the next two years. The amount of choice you get varies between schools, we had to study English, Maths and Science, and then a technology, a modern language, and two subjects from the humanities and arts. When you’re 16 you take exams in each of your subjects and you get a qualification in each, I have 11 in total. You can leave school then or you can go on to study for A Levels, most people pick 3-5 subjects and spend 2 years completing them and then either start work or go on to university.

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. Stormi D Johnson

    Never read it nor really wanted too. We actually didn’t do a lot of reading in our school which is kind of a bummer, I have read a lot more of the classics as an adult than I did then and the only one I can remember reading I hated, Red Badge of Courage….blah. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. FictionFan

    School is way back in the dim distant past for me now, but in Scotland in those days it was pretty much the same as you – a couple of books, usually suitable to do a compare and contrast question on, a couple of plays, one of which would be Shakespeare, and a bunch of poetry, mostly English (not Scottish – we never got any Scottish literature back in my day. I hope that’s changed now…).

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. TheReadersBay

    1. I really like the whole outlook of your blog. What theme are you using? It’s littttt
    2. I hadn’t taken any English coursed back when i was giving my gcse’s but now in uni i have taken a couple English courses and honestly i feel like I’m not able to enjoy my books as I would if they weren’t a required reading.


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