The Decline and Fall of the Classroom Novel

Daniel Buck:

The book is dying. I don’t just mean that Americans are reading fewer books, opting instead for 240-character fragments or autoplay videos. Nor am I referencing a handful of parental prudes lamenting explicit materials or social-justice warriors crying foul anytime a child has to read Steinbeck.

Rather, fewer students are reading books — real, physical books with printed text — from start to finish, because fewer schools are requiring it.

When I taught high school, most of my colleagues assigned only excerpts from To Kill a Mockingbird or Romeo and Juliet, because reading the whole book just “wasn’t that important,” they told …