Some teens see reading as too much work

Sometimes, it just can't be helped.

Whether it's because of sports, family events, other homework or just plain procrastination or laziness, every student at one time or another has skipped on their reading homework.

And at times like those, likely to the teacher's chagrin, SparkNotes was there for them.

Since its founding, SparkNotes has been an invaluable resource and a constant temptation to English students at various grade levels across the country. However, is it a legitimate clarifying tool? Or are teachers right to generally discourage reliance upon it? And do students care to make the distinction?

Healdsburg High students' opinions about the site are mixed.

"I feel that it's justified when reading to clarify, and I don't feel bad reading SparkNotes. It's a very helpful tool for me," said junior Benny Shakked.

Sophomore Ally Kuller takes it a step further, describing the frequency of her SparkNotes usage as "pretty often, actually. More than I read! Summaries online are just a lot easier and take less time to read and comprehend."

Other students abstain from the site or regret having to use it.

"I feel like it's kind of a cheat. You should be reading the literature and focusing on the details. I used it in middle school and I felt kind of guilty," said freshman Izzi Rader.

"I use it when I don't have time to read usually, which is fairly often," said senior Loren Stone, but who clarifies that "I try not to read SparkNotes in place of the book. Most of the time it's either because I need to catch up or have a question."

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