Absense of literary choice stifles creativity

Teachers should allow students more time to read, write freely


Graphic Lydia Grist

Opinion Editor Katrina Liu writes that high schoolers are not offered enough opportunities to read and write freely.

Katrina Liu, Opinion Editor

The wonders of the Harry Potter series, the excitement of the Magic Tree House books, the wide eyes when reading the Hunger Games series, and so much more. These books bring back many childhood memories for all. But that’s just what it is: childhood.

When I was a child, I had so many crazy ideas. A princess getting saved by a prince and then slaying a dragon that killed her family. A tree who could talk to the bunny that always napped near it. These ideas came to life in writing assignments from the first grade, and all of that stemmed from books.

It’s been a long time since those days. Princesses and princes have turned into teenage romance, talking trees have turned into poetry books with simplistic drawings, and our willingness to read and write has dwindled significantly.

As we get older, we get busier. We have more extracurriculars, more schoolwork and more things that take up our time. And with that, we are assigned books to read for school and essays to write. Less time is allowed for creativity. Students’ interests for reading books lowers, as now they have to read it for a class. Writing is now associated with essays and other formal writing. Creativity is becoming stifled.

Many students don’t have the time to creatively write or read on their own anymore, and some express the desire to. Reading and writing shapes our adolescence, and the decrease in the time allotted for it is a problem.

There are very few times in my high school career that I’ve had a chance to write creatively. And personally, I have not had time to read what I want during school hours. There have been very few times where I truly enjoy the book we’re reading in class. Some of the reasons for that are either the topic doesn’t personally interest me, or the assignments that come along with the reading are tedious.

That doesn’t mean that these assignments aren’t necessary. Many of the projects and essays associated with reading an assigned book in class improve our analytical skills, and shape us into critical thinkers, which will prove extremely useful in the future.

However, creative thinking and imagination is also an important skill for the future and for oneself. Writing freely can heal minds and improve academic performance. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, writing is a major factor involving improvements to physical health, psychological well-being, psychological functioning and general functioning. Also, writing and reading during one’s free time allows the childhood-like imagination to run wild, only this time, involving more mature themes.

Because many students don’t have enough time in their busy lives or little motivation to do it on their own, more teachers should start scheduling time in class for free writing or free reading. That could be a whole period to read a book of one’s choice or 10 minutes at the start of class to write whatever we want. The love for literature we had as children has faded significantly, but making time for creativity in the classroom could preserve some of our youth and let our imaginations run wild. Isn’t that the one of the beautiful things the human brain has the capability of doing?