Why Students Should Develop a Love for Reading


Jo-Lee Mckenzie, Contributing Writer

The purity of young minds has shown to contract due to the revolution of technology and all factors that tag along with it. Social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook, all contribute to the minds of today’s generation. However, the revolution of reading is yet to arise. People may keep themselves from being interested in reading because of a dislike for it, or because they can not find room to squeeze the hobby into their time-consuming schedules. However, reading has many benefits including heightened brain activity and a more observant mind.


Those who don’t read may think they’re doing themselves a favor by avoiding the topic, though it is proven that those who read frequently tend to show an increase of intelligence. An article from The South African College of Applied Psychology states “Research shows that stories impact the brain both psychologically and neurologically. A study in which participants’ brains were scanned before, during, and five days after reading a novel found ongoing neurological changes. The results showed that there were changes in the brain’s resting state after participants had finished reading the novel. The study’s lead, American Neuroscientist Professor Gregory Berns, explains: ‘Even though the participants were not actually reading the novel while they were in the scanner, they retained this heightened connectivity.’” This study is an instance of reading positively altering the function of the human brain. Regardless of the children not reading while in the scanner, their brains maintained a high functioning level because they had recently read the novel.


 As young minds continue to gain knowledge, reading a minimum of 20 pages every day can build onto existing information. Sixth grade English Teacher Michael Gentile gave his take on the effect of reading on young minds. Gentile said, “Reading is everything for young minds. Hopefully it shapes the way they see themselves, and the world outside of themselves.” In addition to the impact on how reading on people’s view of themselves and the world around them, reading can differ test scores positively. An occasional occurrence at Poly Prep are the ERBs, which are typically known to cause distress in students. ERBs test students’ knowledge and assist teachers in better helping individuals. Head of Middle School André Del Valle said, “The strongest readers typically do their best on ERBs. That’s because of the amount of exposure to vocabulary, fluency, reading comprehension. All of those things are connected to ERB tests, and students who read more typically do better on those kinds of tests.” 


Difficulty in finding the right book may be a bump in many people’s journeys to finding interest in reading. The immense amount of genres and books available don’t leave an easy window open for you to find what you are most fascinated by. My current book picks focus on the genre of romance, however, the book that pushed me further along my path to consistent reading was Keep It Together, Keiko Carter by Debbi Michiko Florence. It covers Keiko Carter’s middle school experience. 


When Gentile was asked about his experience reading as a youngster, he replied with, “I liked a lot of books that had to do with sports, fiction or nonfiction. And then when I was 11 or 12 my dad made me read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and that changed everything because I was like, oh there are books about topics that I’m interested in and characters can feel the way I feel sometimes and that made me want to read more.” His other favorites include 1984 by George Orwell, Dissident Gardens by Johnathan Lethem, and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. 


Del Valle said, “I loved reading when I was younger. Matter of fact, it was my way of, like, my imagination, and things that were important to me. A lot of it came from the books that I read as a young black male. The first book that I read that really had an impact on me was Native Sun, and after reading that book, it made me gain appreciation for who I am. So I would say that reading was something that shaped me, and I love to read, I still do today.”


You’re never going to know the influence that reading has on you unless you make an effort to create an experience for yourself. With no expiration date on the back of your journey to reading, nothing is stopping you. It’s never too late.