A book a day …

images (3)By Sabrina Bong — When I was five, my favorite activity was going to the library.

I was what some might call a “voracious reader.” My mother kept trying to pace me with how many books I read, since I would sometimes read all seven in the span of four days. She would joke that it was exhausting keeping up with my reading pace. But regardless, my parents constantly encouraged me to keep reading. Maybe that’s why I love going to Barnes and Noble and browsing (and, yes, buying more books!)

As I grew older, I continued my love of reading, especially during the summer. As I got to high school and college, I realized that I was reading a lot of things that I didn’t necessarily enjoy. Let’s face it: reading a book on logic and philosophy is just not as interesting as the third Harry Potter book (even if you’ve already read it numerous times.)  For me, playing video games or watching television was not an option I was drawn to.

Recently, Alan Borsuk wrote an interesting piece of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In his article, entitled “Cure for the summer slide is as close as your library,” he mentioned that in the year 2012, only 27% of 13 year olds and 19% of 17 year olds said that they read for fun over summer. However, those who read for fun did substantially better than their peers who did not. In addition, it was found that those who read approximately six age-appropriate books over summer did better or stayed the same the next school year. Those who did not read experienced that “summer slump,” where students may be as much as two months behind academically.

What was most interesting to me is that it didn’t matter what kind of literature the students were taking in. Whether it was a fiction novel, a biography about a president, or a graphic novel, it didn’t matter; what was most important was that students were reading. This can really be about what students enjoy! I think a lot of times, students associate “reading” with “work,” especially since so much emphasis is put on “summer reading lists” and doing academic things, like summer school.

As counselors and educators, we can change that thought process. We can ensure that students find reading fun, and that they continue to foster this love of books, whether in print or on the Kindle/Nook/iPad. This also means that we as educators should work to have inclusive literature in our classrooms and school libraries, books that are fantasy and science fiction, romance and action/adventure, graphic novels and epic sagas like The Hunger Games. There could maybe also be incentives for students who read over the summer, similar to the free library programs that are offered.

I think this advice is critical for not only students, but for us adults as well. We spend so much time reading research and things for school that we sometimes forget to take time for ourselves as well. Read a book on that reading list you’ve been creating; grab something not related to school and go sit out on the patio. It’s not only self-care, but also a great way to keep your mind sharp for the upcoming school year.

1 Response to “A book a day …”

  1. 1 xtinaluvspink July 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I LOVE the idea of schools incorporating inclusive reading lists in curricula. If it can get students more interested in school, while still teaching important and valuable lessons, there is only good to gain in such a practice. In college, I took, purely for the hell of it, an English course centered around Harry Potter, and other literature that dealt with the use of magic. It was fascinating! And while reading about Voldie’s downfall is just fun, we also learned quite a bit about literature and real life applications.

    It is also incredibly important for ALL adults to read – whatever that may be! It increases vocabulary, spelling ability, awareness of other worlds and types of people/cultures, and I’m willing to bet in can increase the ability to focus on one thing at a time. Plus, it enhances imagination capabilities, which can lead to innovative thought in the workplace, at home, in relationships, etc.

    Now I want to go read 🙂


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