The Importance of Reading


Caroline Capuzello, Sophomore Staff Writer

Less than 20 percent of U.S. teens report reading a book, magazine or newspaper daily for pleasure,” according to The American Psychological Association. When asked about reading, most teens would rather do anything else. They feel that it’s pointless, boring, and a waste of time. In reality, reading can be way more beneficial than most would think. Whether it’s socially, mentally, or in another way, books can have a profound influence on developing minds and individuals. 

Reading helps to develop a lot of academic skills and other skills that contribute to success. Due to the decrease in leisurely reading, many teens are lacking in areas that are commonly used in college environments, the workforce, and everyday life. Reading helps to build a more complex and well-rounded vocabulary, comprehension skills, memory, reduce stress, and so much more. It helps to build a deeper understanding of self and others, and develop critical thinking, which is highly valued in workplaces. Plentiful reading allows students to encounter different ideas and ways of understanding the world, compelling them to consider what they believe and why. 

Books expand worldview and prevent narrow-mindedness. A good story has the power to stay with someone well after finishing the last line. In addition to possibly teaching the reader something about their own identity, it can open their eyes to the experiences of others. Exploring complex topics like sexuality, violence, substance abuse, suicide, and racism through well-drawn characters lets kids contemplate morality, build empathy for people unlike themselves, and discover an experience similar to the ones they face daily. Once new worlds and ideas are introduced on the pages, it’s almost impossible to hold on to old ones. Being knowledgeable and understanding of the world around them is something many Americans lack, and reading can build empathy, character, and more. 

While the academic benefits from reading are often discussed, the social aspects are rarely talked about. In addition to learning empathy, books provide an endless supply of social interaction examples from which to learn. “Reading has shown me appropriate vs. inappropriate ways to handle a conversation,” says sophomore Evan Flynn. Scenes full of character dialogue showcase effective – and ineffective – ways to handle conflict in a variety of situations. It allows teens to experience moods and emotions they aren’t used to and teaches them how to navigate difficult situations. Experiencing these emotions in a safe environment allows someone to think about how they might react in a similar situation, preparing them for future interactions. This makes their emotional development more well-rounded and mature. “Reading gives me a way to make conversation with new people when I’m trying something new. It makes me feel more comfortable in environments I’m not familiar with.” Remarks freshman Scout Nicholson. Reading can help teens connect with people they otherwise wouldn’t take the opportunity to get to know. 

Reading can make a massive impact on developing minds. Whether it’s academic, social, or mental, the growth after continuous reading is apparent. Books can help to prepare for life after high school, help boost self-esteem, increase empathy, expand worldview, and a multitude of other important skills and techniques that are missing in today’s society.