Whenever I assign a long reading for homework or offer to peruse one collectively, a tremendous
sigh can be heard filling up the room. Groans of “Do we have to?” or “I’ve never read anything that
long in my life” punctuate the anticipated boredom, and everyone settles in to (grudgingly) do the
For instructors, that isn’t a rare occurrence. Our roles require us teach basic tenets of literature, engage students in thinking about rhetoric and symbolism, and ideally guide them as they evolve into better writers and critical thinkers. However, as we try to reach students who are reading increasingly shorter and shorter pieces, or not at all, one question arises: Do we need to change how and what we teach in English courses, or is it already too late?