Words for the mind

Mariah Clogston, Writer

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The brain is a muscle that needs exercise- just like the rest of the body- and the best way to get that exercise is to read, whether it be independently or as a group. Independent reading, however, is not an activity enjoyed by many students.

“I’m a busy person so I don’t always have the time to read. If I like what I’m reading then I’m okay but if I’m not interested in it then I don’t like it,” Tucker Gaudette (‘18) said.

Gaudette isn’t the only student who dislikes an “uninteresting” book. Teachers at Bellows Free Academy (BFA) have noticed that many of their students don’t enjoy reading, and some teachers are taking action.

“Last year, I did a survey of kids just to get to know them at the beginning of the class in September. There was only one kid in the whole class that said they liked reading,” MaryEllen Tourville, an English teacher from BFA, said.

Tourville gives her students time to independently read a book of their choosing at the beginning of each class. She has seen the change that independent reading time can make.

“I find now that kids, if I take away the reading one day- like if I need to give a test or something- they’re mad. It’s like I’ve taken away something personal and important to them and they’re not happy. So, I think it’s really obvious how much that reading time means to students,” Tourville said.

Reading is more than just exercise for the brain. One BFA student, Mikhail Mitin (‘18), shares his perspective on reading.

“You find out obscure facts and perspectives of different kinds of people you wouldn’t normally associate with,” Mitin said.

Reading is a great way to develop your imagination in a way that TV and video games can’t.

“TV and computer games have their place, but they are more like amusement. Amusement comes from two words “a” [non] and “muse” [think]. Amusement is non-thinking activities. With reading, a person can go anywhere in the world…or even out of it! They can be a king, or an adventurer, or a princess, or… The possibilities are endless. Non-readers never experience these joys to the same extent,” author of the online article “Why Is Reading Important?”, Glenn Davis wrote.

Being able to read is important when it comes to finding a well paying job, as many will require you to be able to read and comprehend the reading.

“A person is limited in what they can accomplish without good reading and comprehension skills,” Davis wrote.

Poor reading skills can also cause people to have a low opinion of their abilities. This low opinion of themselves causes people to fall back in classes than English.

Reading can also lower stress levels as well as increase your focus.

“In a single five minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people and using their smartphone. This type of behavior causes stress levels to rise and lowers our productivity. When you read a book, all your attention is focused on the story. The rest of the world is closed off and you immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing,” YouTube contributor who goes by Better Than Yesterday said.

Reading is used as a way to expand vocabulary by seeing new words and how they’re used. It also gives people a better understanding of already known words by seeing them in a different context.

Picking up a good book and finding time to read is very beneficial to the mind. Do some book genre exploring and enjoy your own little reading world.

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