Reading is Great – But Do Students Have Time?

Mayvil Awad, Staff Writer

Have you ever been told by your teacher to read more? I am guessing the answer is yes. We as students are always told by teachers to do more independent reading at home, to find what interests us and read it. But let’s face it, do we actually have any time to read?

Teachers spend their time helping us practice skills and strategies like “finding the main idea” or “making inferences,” and teachers select books that match the given skill. These skills really do help build strategies for comprehension, but what about reading for pleasure?

I went around and asked students of different grades if they had time to read a book they like and most responded that they did not. Shocking! There were only a few students that said that they actually have time to read, explaining it was only because they would sacrifice their homework or would not study for a test or quiz. Student involvement in extracurricular activities is yet another factor contributing to the lack of reading in students’ lives. 

So how can we increase our independent reading? One possible way to simulate student reading is to give time in class to read— all that is required is a couple of minutes and a book of interest. Many English classes have already started doing this. Students can also visit the library where Mrs. Perkins can help them choose a book. All it takes is one book to make reading a habit in your life.

If students understand the full effect of reading and how it can improve their vocabulary, concentration, and social skills —being stronger listeners and being able to present their ideas and opinions more efficiently—they are more likely to want to read. But can they find the right book?

Many people believe that the birth of the Internet meant the death of reading, but the reality is that reading has become essential to our everyday lives. How can we survive in today’s world without the skills reading provides—from writing a letter to a friend to a Slides presentation viewed by hundreds of people at a business conference. Communication in our technological age would be nothing without reading and writing! Just think of the number of emails sent around the world every day! Reading is crucial for learning and achieving beyond the classroom. Avid readers often have excellent general knowledge. Reading is a brain exercise, the more you do it, the stronger your language skills. Who wouldn’t want that?