Leisure Reading Needs to be a Top Priority Among Students

For the average high school student, if given the option to play a video game or to read a classic novel, most would choose to play the video game without hesitation. Quite frankly, the multimedia experience just seems to be better than the reading one.

As students go through high school and then to college and beyond, the common trend is that students read outside of school less and less as they get into higher grade levels. This is especially harmful for students as reading becomes an increasingly important skill in life and in higher education. Students who do not read on a regular basis need to readjust their schedules to fit some sort of reading activity into their lives.

According to the National Education Association in 2001, 56 percent of young people say they read more than 10 books a year, with middle school students reading the most. 70 percent of middle school students read more than 10 books a year, compared with only 49 percent of high school students.

These statistics are staggering. Students need to make reading a regular habit in order to not only offset these circumstances but also to enjoy the many benefits that reading provides.

Reading can increase comprehension that students get when reading regularly. Reading can also help students learn to make more complex sentence structures, gain a higher level of vocabulary and advance their own writing style.

Also, reading often frequently improves reading speed. Students could read more complicated material in a smaller amount of time and still retain key ideas and information, which is a very useful technique for SATs and college reading material.

Inspiration is another element that makes reading worthwhile. One of the main reasons that authors write is for ideas. Reading many different kinds of books allows students to get their head around all these ideas that are the books, making them generally more knowledgeable

“You understand things, like why people are a certain way, how their opinions come through in their writing, vocabulary and just entertainment,” junior Saskia Lee said. “You don’t need people to enjoy a book, article or magazine; you can read by yourself and be happy.”

Senior Olga Lykova reads “to relax and get [her] mind of things.”

Most students do not read because of other time commitments that are academic, extracurricular or extraneous and seem to have larger impact on their lives.

If students were to choose between watching “American Idol” or reading “The Iliad,” the typical response would be to watch “American Idol.” This is because reading has grown more impractical to teenage students. A student would rather watch “All Quiet on the Western Front” for that World Lit. essay due the next day than read the book.

“[Students don’t read due to a] lack of time with homework, reading for English or school and other extracurricular activities,” Saskia said. “It’s hard to carve out the time.”

Students should read any material that is educational in some sense such as classic books, science-fiction books, teen books or fiction books. Comic books are also a good source of entertainment. They engage the reader to keep on reading and their purpose is to entertain at the same time. Reading is a win-win situation for students.