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Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

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Students and teachers share their opinions on the required readings for English classes

Selecting English books remains an essential part of English preparation across the school
By Anna Zwahlen
Senior Addisyn White grins as she reads “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls, which she read the summer of her junior year for AP Language and Composition.

Every summer, students are tasked with reading and analyzing a piece of literature for their upcoming English classes. These assignments have led students to wonder how exactly English teachers decide what to assign.

English teacher Sara Sedgwick, as well as several others, have been introducing lists of book options for  projects as opposed to one assigned reading for their English classes. Extra thought has to be put into these lists, so that they all still have the same academic value.

“I look for books that are the same difficulty level so no one’s picking an easy book over a hard book, but I also look at what skill I am teaching with that book,” Sedgwick said.

In her class, English teacher Kristen Huang consistently updates assigned reading material in order to stay up to date with recent events.

“For our class, AP Language and Composition, we try to keep it current,” Huang said. “Once an article ages out, we don’t assign it anymore. We look for new ones.”

Freshman Natalie Long said that after years of being used in her English classes, older books have become overused, rather than achieving their intended impact.

“It’s obvious with those kinds of stories or books that they have been used for English teaching for years and years and years, to the point where you can only associate their name with “We read it in English class,” Long said. “At this point, you can’t actually take them for what they are. You just take them as English class readings.”

Students, including sophomore Liberty Bouskill, also prefer to be able to pick a book that suits their own interests, instead of one that has been read for years in the same classroom setting like what Sedgwick is  implementing.

“[I would prefer to choose] from a list of options, 100 percent,” Bouskill said. “If you have a choice then it doesn’t feel like as much of a chore when you’re reading [the book] because you’re like, ‘Oh, I picked this. This is a book I wanted to read.’”

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About the Contributors
Quin Peters, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is sophomore Quin Peters’ first year on the JagWire staff. She will be exploring the roles of writer and designer for the newspaper this year. Outside of school, Quin crochets, reads, writes creatively and is involved in art. Quin is a member of several clubs at the school, including National Art Honor Society, Youth for Refugees, Women’s Empowerment, Scholars Bowl, Creative Writing Club and Model UN.
Avery Clement, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is Sophomore Avery Clement’s first year on the JagWire staff. She is looking forward to learning about designing, writing and photography for the JagWire. Outside of journalism, Avery enjoys watching movies, crocheting and thrifting and reselling clothes. She also works as a gymnastics coach at Pinnacle gymnastics. She is a member of Youth for Refugees and Women's Empowerment Club and is also in Model UN. She is looking forward to a fun year on the JagWire staff.
Anna Zwahlen, JagWire editor-in-chief, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief
This is senior Anna Zwahlen’s second year on the JagWire newspaper staff. She is thrilled to be one of the new Editors In Chief of the JagWire and Mill Valley News. Anna is also involved in the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Scholars Bowl, GSA and is co-president for Youth for Refugees. Outside of school, Anna loves to read and spend time with her friends, as well as listen to new music and watch her favorite TV shows and movies between her work as a barista.

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