Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Students find it difficult to read for pleasure

As members of the digital generation, most would believe today’s college students no longer read for pleasure, mostly because of the growth of technology in their lifetimes. Classic novels now have movie adaptations that can be watched, and breaking news can be read in a tweet of less than 140 characters.

However, according to a recent survey, students still want to read for pleasure, but instead of technology getting in the way, students’ classwork is preventing them from doing outside reading. The survey, which was released by College & Research Libraries, polled more than 700 students at Gustavus Adolphus College, along with librarians from all over the country.

While 93 percent of the students polled agreed they read for pleasure, more than 77 percent of those same students said they didn’t have time for recreational reading because they had too much class-assigned reading.

Many students at The University of Alabama match the findings of the survey.

While the University itself boasts a growing population of over 33,000 students, the Honors College book club has just five consistent members.

Erica Schumann, a sophomore majoring in history and anthropology, who is a member of the book club, said she feels it is difficult for college students to find time to read for pleasure.

“I’ve never been able to balance my reading very well. Sometimes my classwork suffers because I get really into a book and can’t focus on anything else until I finish it, or sometimes I won’t read for enjoyment for weeks because I get overwhelmed by my classes,” Schumann said.

While the members of the book club maintain their reading by meeting at least once a month, other students outside of the club find it even harder to find extra time to read.

Maggie Leverette, a sophomore majoring in finance, said she believes even if she joined a book club, she wouldn’t have time to read.

“Since I started college, I’ve found that my desire to read has decreased just because I got out of the habit of reading all the time, and I have so much reading for class, that I don’t want to read for fun anymore,” Leverette said.

Some students feel the problem of having to choose between class reading and reading for pleasure could be solved simply by professors working together when assigning readings, which would prevent overwhelming students. Candace Hill, a junior majoring in English, understands the struggle of too much class reading.

“I read around a total of 30 novels last semester alone. Several of them were 400-600 pages. Not only does that leave little time to analyze the material in-depth, but it also eliminates the possibility of outside reading,” Hill said.

However, time has not changed the curriculum, or what is required of professors.

Ash Bowen, a professor in the English department, said she believes things haven’t changed since he was in college.

“When I was an undergraduate majoring in English, I typically had no time for pleasure reading. Taking 15 hours of literature courses – with each course having around seven novels on the the syllabus for a total of 35 novels in a single semester – certainly cut down the time I had for extra reading,” Bowen said.

Although, it has affected the way he teaches his course.

“But at the same time I have to maintain the integrity of the course, the University, and my position and assign the material that needs to be covered,” he said. “I simply do my best to ensure that the readings are in small enough chunks that students don’t feel overwhelmed and are still getting the necessary works covered.”

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