SSR shouldn’t be a required part of seminar

Malcolm Gaynor, Journalism 1 Writer

Every week, seminar students spend a total of 50 minutes every week reading before they are allowed to start on their homework, adding up to a total of 30 hours of lost homework time. Ten minutes a day may not seem like much, but in a busy student life, valuable homework time should not be spent reading.

Junior Ethan Griwatsch, who takes three IB classes, says that the reading time in seminar is not valuable because “for most classes, you already have to read, and you might have to work on something else, and that (the ten minute reading requirement) just takes away from your time.” Ethan agrees that the ten minutes in seminar allocated to reading would be better used doing homework, as most students will have already read at home for another class anyway.

Another student, sophomore Mitchell Getting, explains that he “understands why they want us to read, it’s scientifically proven to improve vocabulary and grades.” However, he says that “I don’t believe that I gain education by reading ten minutes,” due to the distractions of his technology and classmates. Also, sophomore Graham Holley says that “I don’t think it’s a productive use of time,” because he could be doing homework or studying for another class.

Sophomore Greg Lapetina, a multi-sport athlete, gives a solution to the the reading issue. He says that reading should be “encouraged, but shouldn’t be required.” He explains that “when you sign up for seminar, you should get the whole hour for homework.” Lapetina agrees that the reason students do seminar is for homework, not reading.

The solution to the seminar reading issue is relatively simple: leave the first ten minutes of class to silent work time, not specifically reading. Allow students to work on homework or studying in the first ten minutes. If the students don’t have any work, or if they want to read, then they should participate in SSR. As long as there is silence and no phone use, the ten minutes of work time at the beginning of class is beneficial to everyone.

There is no denying that it is intellectually beneficial for students to read every day.  However, as Griwatsch pointed out, most teachers already assign reading to students, and students sign up for seminar specifically to have the extra time for homework. If pleasure reading is considered a necessity for students, it should be done during a class such as English so that all students receive the benefits of reading. Another solution would be implementing a set time for every student in the school to read. For example, if two minutes are taken out of every class, there could be a fourteen minute long required pleasure reading time every day. That way, students who specifically signed up for extra homework time  aren’t deprived of 10 minutes, and every student, not just those in seminar, reaps the rewards of pleasure reading.

The importance and benefit of reading for pleasure cannot be denied. However, reading at the beginning of seminar makes little sense. Reading during seminar just takes homework time away from the students who need it most, the students that lose an opportunity for another elective choice in order to gain the valuable work time. There are other alternatives to the reading rule, including a school-wide pleasure reading time or turning the ten minute reading time into a free work time. If students more time to read in seminar, they’ll be more likely to have time to read for pleasure at home, which is a win for everyone.