SparkNotes shortcut: English students avoid required reading

Tashy Hunter, Staff Writer

The night before the reading check, students aren’t reaching for the assigned reading. With only hours to read an entire novel, SparkNotes is the tool of choice.

Junior Ronnell Davis said SparkNotes helps him with book tests, and writing papers in English class.

Graphic by Anna Villano.
Graphic by Anna Villano.

“I feel my grade will remain high while using SparkNotes, because SparkNotes give a broader idea of how the story is which allows me to understand the books more easily,” Davis said. “SparkNotes gets to the point unlike a book that takes forever to understand.”

SparkNotes are used everyday on tests, quizzes, and essays. English teachers like Debbie Lindley have experienced some struggles throughout the class with SparkNotes.

“The problem in our class is we do not teach self selected books, so the students aren’t as interested in the books we choose,” Lindley said. “To reduce the time of reading, they use already written notes for tests.”

Davis uses SparkNotes anytime he has a reading assignment. Davis said he feels that SparkNotes will keep him at an A or B average throughout the school year.

“Anytime we receive a book to read I use SparkNotes, they help me with understanding the book as well as answering mental questions that I have about the book,” Davis said.

According to Lindley, she will allow her students to use SparkNotes as a guide to help them before test or while reading the book, but she won’t allow students to use SparkNotes as their one and only source.

“I honestly am not opposed to SparkNotes, but if my students were to use it, I would look up the notes and take down the obvious questions from the notes so that I am able to make the test more in depth rather than just straight forward and easy,” Lindley said.

Although Davis said he has not noticed much change in his teacher’s treatment of SparkNotes, he pays more attention to the assigned reading knowing that teachers may require citations on essays and tests.

“I haven’t really noticed the changes, but I have been reading more often because of the citations not being on SparkNotes,” Davis said.