When was the last time you read a book for fun? One out of every three teens responding to a recent survey said it had been at least a year.
That worries a lot of educators and parents because studies routinely show that strong reading skills are a key factor in succeeding at school—and in life.
Some experts say that one of the most effective ways to get young people to read more often is to let them choose the books that they read in school. After all, when asked which book they had enjoyed most, 80 percent of students polled said it was one they had picked themselves. Letting teens do that in school, some people say, can help them develop a lifelong habit of reading for fun.
But other experts say that the books kids want to read aren’t always what they need to read—especially when it comes to improving test scores and critical-thinking skills. And if students aren’t all reading the same books at the same time, how can teachers fairly compare their progress? Besides, an experienced educator can help guide students toward books they might never have chosen in the first place but end up really enjoying.
Should you be able to choose which books you read in school? Two education experts weigh in.