A Great Future At Your Fingertips | By Anarely Sanchez
At school, there are two types of students when it comes to settling down and grabbing a novel to read. There are those who read for their own amusement and enjoy it just for fun, but there are others who either see that they have to do it for a grade or decide it is too boring for them and end up not reading at all. This is a serious problem because reading is not only an important skill to learn, but it also allows a person’s mind to expand with knowledge and curiosity. However, not every single student may like to read and that is okay, but maybe they just haven’t found that one book that is just right for them.
Most students, take the time given to them to read for granted, and don’t realize how important even having access to a book really is.“One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world ( Malala Yousafzai).” Luckily people in the U.S. have the opportunity to go to school, but Malala Yousafzai, a Children’s Activist and Women’s Rights Activist, is fighting on behalf of the young women and children in Pakistan to be allowed to receive an education. A librarian, from Vaughn International Studies Academy (V.I.S.A.), Austin Thompson emphasized, “without books there’s really not much imagination or that feeling of being somewhere else, the fantasy of it all. That’s important to read so you can experience other fantasies and not live… like with your own.” Not to mention, reading also allows people to be more aware of the events happening around them, and to be more open minded about the people that have to face this everyday. Many books associate with such devastating issues such as abuse, drugs, death, racism, etc to tell readers “this is what’s happening and something needs to change”.
Not only does reading give individuals a more clear picture of the world, but it also gives them the opportunity to gain and learn literature skills that are necessary to succeed in life. In the views of Janet Fulks, from the Academic Senate Basic Skills Committee Chair and Ad Hoc Noncredit Committee Chair acknowledged, “Data suggest that the key to unlocking the door to higher education regardless of the student goal, whether work, transfer, graduate degree, personal development or engaged citizenship, is reading.” Whether or not a student takes an English class, reading can teach them to identify the meaning of words without using a dictionary, analyze different perspectives, determine a theme or the moral of the story, etc. If a student learns how to do so, they will be on the right path to being college and career ready.
There are many students who dislike reading for their own personal reasons, but oftentimes they just haven’t found anything to motivate them to do so. Some individuals get motivated to read from a character in a book, where they may be able to relate to and easily get sucked into the story. Others read a good book in peace and in their own pace when they don’t feel the urge to finish it quickly, or some get motivated to read when it is a cold rainy day so they can get comfortable on the couch, with a hot cup of cocoa, and just relax with a great book in their hands. At the end of the day, it really is up to the person in what they find in a book, and to remember that they should not give up if they haven’t found a connection to it.
There are many resources online that help with a student’s growth in their literacy skills and allow them to track their progress in order to help them become more enthusiastic readers. For Instance, V.I.S.A and the rest of the Vaughn family have used Scholastic Reading Counts(SRC), where they read a book that is within their lexile range and take a quick ten question quiz on it and earn points for a grade. A V.I.S.A alumni student, Monica Gonzalez, that now attends UC Irvine mentioned, “I started to hate reading because of points and like because I personally wouldn’t finish my reading points because I had other homework and then I had to work so I wouldn’t really finish my reading points… but I feel like it did prepare me in the amount of reading I do in college now.” With the SRC system many students complain about getting their points on-time and procrastinate, but as a result it will really benefit them in the long run since reading is such a critical part of leading a successful and well-informed life.
There are many students that aren’t aware of the many things they can do to assure they are getting a book that engages their interest. An Honors 9th grade English teacher, from V.I.S.A, Nicole Mohr asserted, “If they think about what type of TV shows they enjoy or type of movies that they’ve enjoyed. Most movies and tv shows start with a book and so if you go look at that book, even though you don’t want to read a book that is already something you saw in a movie. Look at other things by that author or for other things in that genre”. If by any chance a student wants to read a certain book that the school library may not have, and doesn’t have the time or money to go to Barnes and Nobles, Amazon is one of the many online resources that gives people the opportunity to buy good books for a cheaper price and they also sell used books. So there really isn’t an excuse for students now, next time they say they don’t have a book to read.
Although, students now do not think their reading habits will matter when they are older, they will be surprised to know that many of their idols are the people they are today because of reading. The Huffpost once questioned, “ How did Oprah become so wise, Bill Gates so successful, and J.K. Rowling so creative? We think the answer is something along the lines of “you are what you read.” Idols such as, our 44th President, Barack Obama, talk-show host Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres found their way to start their career from the pages of a book. Ms. Winfrey’s favorite is “Marianne Williamson’s bestselling guide on improving relationships, work, and health by embracing love over fear. Sounds like something we all might need to read.” So if our icons find the time to read, so can students.
In the end, the more and more a person reads, the more they will learn to communicate efficiently in society, and have a more fulfilling life. A student’s reading habits are vital for the future because reading can open up doors to a new adventure one might not be able to otherwise access except from in the pages of a good book.