Throughout our school years, we have been required to read what we considered canon in English and American Literature. For a book to be determined canon, it must be influential, withstand time, and is essential (Barron). They are the standards in which other books are measured (Barron). But our required readings have become stale, there is no variety in what we must read for school. As we progress there comes a disconnect in what we consider canon. Students do not relate to the characters. For the most part, they find the books boring. Do not get me wrong, there are some books that are canon I had enjoyed like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, but I abhorred John Steinbeck and I do not believe that The Scarlet Letter is a great book, I believe that it’s a terrible book. Sadly, it can foster a distaste for reading.

I am not saying that reading the classics is unimportant. It is very important. It can help improve language abilities by adding to your vocabulary, improve critical thinking skills and enhance how you express yourself. It can provide insight into the past, human nature, culture and broaden your way of thinking (Turner). But we need to broaden our reading requirements. Most of our readings are from white male authors. If there are female authors, they are also white. There are barely any people of color. We also need to broaden the genre of required readings. We tend to dismiss science fiction, fantasy, horror/ thriller novels. Yes, there are some exceptions like Frankenstein and Dracula, but we tend to teach Realism.

By teaching different genres, we help cultivate the imagination of the young. It will also help engage students to read if they feel like they have a sense of choice. By adding more speculative fiction into the required readings I believe students will become more interested in the setting, plot, and characters of the story. Reading speculative fiction like fantasy and science fiction can be just as important. It helps us to approach and solve real-world problems (Coleman). It also teaches us how to be creative and to think outside of the box (Coleman). It also teaches us how to become more adaptable to our surroundings (Coleman).

Works Cited

Boehnke, Kat. “The Value of Required Reading.” Daily American, 13 Apr. 2017,

Coleman, Jeff. What Can Fantasy Teach Me About Reality? 13 Jan. 2014,