The Magic of Reading


Reyna Hernandez

The library displays a few books that students often enjoy.

As times change, many activities progress as well as we do. Reading has become less common as social media has taken a rise. It’s become a controversy about whether or not it is even worth it in this day and age to sit down and appreciate a good book. I believe that there’s still some magic in flipping the pages of a brand-new book and imagining a world you’d never get to experience otherwise. 

“I can’t imagine not reading,” librarian Tamara Minks said. “It was through reading that I met people like Anne Frank, Baldwin, and Langston Hughes. People who are just very different from me, and I really crave that. I don’t know how you can get that anywhere else.”

I can’t imagine not reading. It was through reading that I met people like Anne Frank, Baldwin, and Langston Hughes. People who are just very different from me, and I really crave that. I don’t know how you can get that anywhere else.

— librarian Tamara Minks

Reading can teach someone so much without them even realizing that they’re learning. It can be used as an entirely leisurely activity, but you still get a glimpse of things you’ve never seen. Senior Emily Cole uses reading as a way to understand the world and people around her better. 

“I’ve been a big reader since about preschool age,” Cole said. “My favorite part of reading is getting to know people better. I am obviously a white female, but I feel like I can better understand black people through reading books like ‘The Hate You Give.’ I will never know what it’s like to face racial injustice, but through reading, I can have a better understanding of what they have to go through.”

Not all people find enjoyment in reading. Junior George Gearhart feels that school has ruined reading for him. When it comes to school reading, it’s hard to find the motivation due to it being an assignment, and most of the time students aren’t able to choose their own books.

“I used to enjoy reading,” Gearhart said. “School forced it and made it feel like such a chore to read anything. At that point, it was no longer an enjoyable activity for me. After about the fourth grade, I never had the desire to read on my own again. It was a leisure activity that became a forced homework activity, and it was never the same.” 

If the only thing stopping someone from reading is school, they should just pick up a book of their choosing. It’s easy to fall in love with a book when you know what you like. As students approach high school, the system changes a little as well. It becomes more inclusive of what students want to read.

“I think the school system deters students from reading,” English teacher April Beene said. “Now reading is finish this chapter and answer these questions. It’s become excruciatingly slow, painful, and terrible. No one would enjoy that.”

Beene recognizes that schools have killed reading in some ways. She also chooses to approach reading differently in her classes. Students are given options and are able to choose their own books.

“I think people should read,” Beene said. “I think the most important thing reading does is build empathy. It puts you in somebody’s head in a way that other arts don’t. I think it shows different perspectives, and it’s something that reading is really good for. We don’t do enough of anymore.”

Even students who don’t necessarily enjoy reading can still acknowledge that it’s helpful in one way or another. Sophomore Erick Howard doesn’t like to spend his time reading, but he still recognizes the importance.

“I find it hard to focus sometimes,” Howard said. “I just have a hard time trying to understand what I’m reading. It’s one of those things where you can read it but not comprehend what you’ve read. I do believe that they help though. Some of them can be informational and all of them help with things like sentence structure.” 

Students embrace reading in April Beene’s class. Juniors Elijah Bault, Alexis Enyeart, and Ivy Padilla read their chosen books in class. (Reyna Hernandez)

Some people hate the idea of reading until they have the opportunity to find something they love. Once someone sits down to really enjoy a good book, they find that it can be a lot easier to imagine and love.

“I think reading is honestly just boring,” sophomore Andy Rojas said. “I zone out during the story and end up having to read a page like five times before I understand it. At that point, it’s just easier to give up. I think that if I could find a book that’s interesting I would have a better time reading.”

The trick to finding a perfect book is talking to people. People might have different opinions on everything, but the easiest way to get real feedback on a book is to talk to the biggest critics: teenagers. Often people still manage to get ahold of literature through listening to audiobooks, which is definitely an effective option.

I do think that reading is overall worth it. It might just take a little effort for someone to really fall in love with it. Imagining a new world creates an escape and new experience that everyone should be able to have a part of. Junior Finley Gay enjoys reading and expresses his favorite parts.

“The escapism is what draws me into reading,” Gay said. “In this age of always spending time on our phones, it feels like our free time fades away. Whenever I get to get away from the brain rot of social media, it’s a welcome feeling.”