In the face of only 10 of my 60 English 3 students having read chapters 3 and 4 of The Scarlet Letter, I explained a bit of logic to the kids. Maybe it will help you out.
You know what you get when only 5 people in class have read and are prepared? You get a Super-Size portion of boring. It’s a very slim possibility to do anything interesting when so few are prepared.
So maybe the rumors floating around campus are wrong. The rumors are that this book is the most boring piece of literature ever published. Your friends are saying that you shouldn’t read this book without a pillow close by, how several people have “literally” fallen asleep while reading. What if it’s not entirely the book’s fault?
What if class just gets boring because so few people read the book? What if the declining number of readers is what makes this book seem dull in class?
Think about how liberating that is. If that’s the case, then we can cure that boredom your colleagues have experienced simply by reading. You walk into class ready to take on the day and engage in whatever discussion or activity is planned. You can even partake in a discussion about how boring the story is.
But you have to read first.
If you haven’t read the book, then your opinion really doesn’t matter. Without the experience of the entire book behind you, your thoughts on how uninteresting the novel is don’t mean much at all. If I don’t watch any or only watch the first 30 minutes of a movie, am I really qualified to give you a review of the film? In order for your opinion to carry any weight, you have to read the book.
Try an experiment: give yourself the possibility of doing something worthwhile tomorrow by reading.
We’re going to spend a few weeks with this story. You can make up your own mind or let others tell you whether or not this book is good. You can make our time intriguing and put yourself in a position to learn a few things or you can take it easy the next few weeks and make the class an incredibly boring conversation between me and the 3 others who are willing to speak up.
What are you going to do?