Independent Reading v. Whole Class

Courtney Blom

Students enjoy reading books chosen from the library. From left to right: Evan Hamou. Julia Gobes, Zoha Ahmed, and Alyssa Dioguardi. Photo by: Sreeshty Ray.

In many English classes, there has been a debate over whether students should read books with a group or do independent reading. Students have different opinions over which option benefits people’s reading process the most. Some people feel that reading with a group gives everyone something to talk about, and it is more fun since you can read with others instead of alone. Other people believe that reading alone is more efficient and easier to get reading assignments done with for class.

In my English class, we are doing independent reading instead of group reading now. Many people in my English class feel that the independent reading project we are doing now is better because everyone can read at their own pace and they don’t have the stress of keeping up with others. Generally everyone also likes the fact that they can choose whichever book they want to read based on the genres that they prefer. This way everyone has a choice, and people can enjoy their books more since they actually like the genre and the plot of the story.

Many students at Mepham have opinions about which reading process should be installed in English classes. Kate McNerney, a freshman student who attends Mepham, said, “I think that English students should read independently because they can choose the book that they want to read.”

Another freshman student who attends Mepham, Chloe Henderson, said, “Group reading can be good because if someone has a question on the book or the homework related to the book, you can always ask a friend since they would be reading the same book as you. But also independent reading is good too because you can read at your own pace, and you can be able to pick the book that you want to read instead of a teacher choosing it for you.”

The general reaction by the students is split by this topic. Some people feel that independent reading is better, and others prefer group reading. I believe that there are pros and cons to each side. For group reading, people can ask others in their class about the book since everyone would be reading the same work of literature as well. Also, it would be easier for people to understand the book since classmates can be tools in helping comprehending the story better. But group reading means that probably less actual reading would get done in class, and students could disagree about what book everyone should read next. For independent reading, students could have a choice at which book to crack open because they get to choose the genre based on their preferences. This strategy also might get students to read more because they are more interested in the book that they are reading. But independent reading means that students have to understand the book on their own since everyone else in their class would be reading a different book at the same time.

In my opinion, I believe that independent reading is better and more beneficial to students. But either way, independent and group reading are two different strategies that both work in the English classroom.