Students Will Rise When Colleges Challenge Them to Read Good Books

David Randall

Executive Director Ashley Thorne writes about college common readings in The Chronicle:

So which attitude [toward student reading] prevails in college today? ... resignation and low expectations.

One proof is in the books colleges assign as "common reading" to first-year students over the summer. For the last six years, the National Association of Scholars has tracked these assignments and noted patterns. Our annual report, "Beach Books: What Do Colleges and Universities Want Students to Read Outside Class?," documents that colleges typically assign recent, easy books. Very few choose anything challenging. This year, 91 percent of the books were younger than the 18-year-old students themselves.

Most faculty and administrators who coordinate common-reading programs say their goal isn’t to nurture a love of great literature. As Cheryl Spector, of California State University-Northridge, put it, coordinators "never intended to be arbiters or guardians of high culture." Instead, they just want students to read something. Coordinators also want students to read the same thing so that they have some kind of intellectual experience in common and not just common knowledge of Snapchat and the Kardashians. Because core curricula have all but disappeared, many colleges and universities want to fill the gap that remains.

Go to The Chronicle to read the rest of the article!

Image Credit: Public Domain.

  • Share

Most Commented

May 15, 2015

1.

Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

December 22, 2020

2.

From John David to David Acevedo: Why I’m Leaving Behind My NAS Pseudonym for Good

In this piece, NAS Communications & Research Associate David Acevedo, formerly known as John David, recounts why he chose to write pseudonymously and why he has decided to go public...

February 17, 2021

3.

New ACLU Head Has a Civil Rights Problem Back Home

Deborah Archer is the new president of the American Civil Liberties Union, but she doesn't exactly have a history of protecting civil rights at her other workplace, NYU Law....

Most Read

May 15, 2015

1.

Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

February 17, 2021

2.

How Many Confucius Institutes Are in the United States?

UPDATED 2/17/2021: We're keeping track of all Confucius Institutes in the United States, including those that remain open, those that closed, and those that have announced their clo...

March 2, 2021

3.

Tracking "Cancel Culture" in Higher Education

UPDATED 3/2/21: A repository of 128 administrators, professors, and students who have been "canceled" for expressing views deemed unacceptable by higher education ideologue...