The Importance of Reading

Maya Colchamiro, Staff Writer

Writing is everywhere. It can be found on billboards, food wrappers, phones, and most importantly, books. While many high schoolers disregard books, they can actually be an extremely valuable tool. A study from Healthline shows that “30 minutes of reading lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of psychological distress just as effectively as yoga and humor [do].” Many high schoolers feel extremely stressed, and books can significantly help.

Although long books may seem intimidating, many high schoolers prefer lengthy books because of the character development. Sophomore Payoja Mabbu states “My favorite author is Mariana Zapata because the books that she writes are exponentially longer than the books I normally read; they are like 700 to 1,000 pages. I also love her writing style and the way I can get attached to the characters.” Finding an author that you personally really like can make the biggest difference. Senior Mason Menser states, “I like longer novels because there is more character development.” A longer novel can help readers get attached to the characters. Reading is all about finding your preferences and exploring genres until you find your favorite.

Reading is also a good way to escape. Many readers find that they can view the world from a different perspective when they are reading. Freshman Tara Easterly states, “I used to go the library when I was younger, and it would always transport me to another world.” Being able to view someone else’s story while increasing your vocabulary and helping your brain stay sharp is an experience no other form of media can provide. Everyone needs to occasionally escape reality and relax, and reading is the perfect way to do that. Mabbu explains, “I really like that readers can get away and go into someone else’s journey and look at a different world.”

There is a lot of debate about movie adaptation, with almost every reader having an opinion on this controversial topic. Junior Spencer Blumenthal says, “I’m fine with books being turned into movies as long as the author has a say in it. I also think that some books just shouldn’t be movies.” Many students believe that books should not be turned into movies and doing so is a disgrace to the author. Easterly says, “I think it’s kind of iffy when books are turned in to movies. I personally usually like the original book much more than the movie.” Another interesting perspective is the thought of movies forcing teenagers to read more. Mabbu states, “I saw a movie I loved, so I ended up reading the entire trilogy that the movie was based off of.” A single movie can spark a love for reading, so the benefits can balance out the negative aspects.

The million-dollar question that almost every student who wants to start reading asks: How do I even start to enjoy reading? Easterly states, “I would recommend teen romance. ‘Five Feet Apart’ is my favorite book. ‘Harry Potter’ is always a good place for teens to start.” Finding your favorite genre makes reading 10 times more enjoyable and can spark the love for reading that many teens desire. Menser says, “My favorite author is Stephen King because he is able to bring characters to life.” Reading is completely subjective, so something you enjoy reading might be miserable for your best friend.

Regardless of how much you appreciate reading, it is good for you. Healthline explains, “Reading books benefits both your physical and mental health, and those benefits can last a lifetime. They begin in early childhood and continue through the senior years.” Although this specific study focuses on early childhood reading, it is never too late to start. An article from Family education elaborates, “Another big dividend of reading as a teen is a good score on the verbal section of a college admissions test. No other activity builds the vocabulary and comprehension skills needed to do well on these tests as well as reading.” So many teenagers are concerned about academic success and reading for enjoyment can help improve grades and test scores. Stressed about your English grade? Pick up a book! Reading a novel is definitely more enjoyable than flipping through a thesaurus or studying flashcards for hours and hours.

While it may be difficult to block out time to read, there is no shortage of ways to access books. The King County library system has millions of books available, free of charge. Menser says, “I like to buy books at Barnes and Noble or Amazon because it is convenient.” Easterly states, “I really like local book shops.” Sometimes reading reviews on Amazon can help people find something interesting, and sometimes reading book covers in a local store can help persuade readers to choose a certain book. The moral of the story is: everyone chooses books differently, and that is OK!