Opinion: The genuine joys in reading

During my two-week Spring Break, I had the chance to read for pleasure with no hard deadlines. There were no annotation requirements, and no stress to memorize the content of “Found” by Margaret Peterson Haddix, and it was a great experience. I made sure that I did not let my temptation to go on my phone get in the way of being able to enjoy my novel.

What I have to say is simple: the majority of students in school don’t read for pleasure anymore, and this is largely due to reading only for school and phones. As a teen, it is now rare for most of us to actually read for fun.

Reading for school ignores the purpose of getting to enjoy a novel, in my opinion. When I read a novel for English, in the back of my mind, I am thinking of how I will be graded for it. Yes, we get to have Harkness discussions and talk about what we thought in the book, but there is also the pressure of memorizing the content for that essay I want to get an A on. Reading for school does not give me the chance to truly enjoy a novel just for the fun of it because I am not reading the book for pleasure.

Students are constantly pressured to perform academically, and participation at school takes student’s attention away from themselves and limits their opportunities to expand their imaginations.

It has been proven scientifically that reading, mostly for fun, improves someone’s capability of expressing creativity and coming up with new ideas. Also noting that someone who is on his/her phone two hours a day browsing memes on Instagram may not learn anything new, when he or she could be exploring the fundamentals of literature and beauty of it.

Content creators who are spreading content throughout the media have so many chances to embellish and give ridiculous insight on certain topics that teens find “relatable” when in reality, it makes no sense to the real world around us and does not relate to it. Teens find the media an enjoyable experience, but they can find all but more of those components in a book.

Yes, that Netflix show may have someone hooked and he or she might do anything to sit on the coach and be alone while being entertained, or looking through social media and finding intriguing content that is either funny or enjoyable to look at. But there is a difference between a fictional novel and a TV show. When someone is reading, he or she gets a chance to create his or her own imagery; technology does that for you.

We all know that teenagers can become easily distracted with phones. Personally, I do go through those experiences, feeling like when I am using my phone I feel like I’m connected to the world around me. It can be that feeling of inclusion, yet it can trigger a fear of being isolated.

When teens are just looking at their phones, they are letting that controlling aspect become dominant in their day-to-day lives. Phones along with most modern technology distract people from almost everything going on around them, yet they still feel so connected to the world.

What I’m trying to say is: it would be better if teens decided to participate in a more beneficial distraction and used their free time to expand their imaginations.

I say that reading is a healthy distraction. Teens need to find more pleasure in healthy habits that are actually beneficial to the human brain and help them obtain more and more knowledge, such as by reading.

There is simply no negatives with reading mostly for fun. It’s only healthy. Reading new books expands vocabulary, and it also shows new ways of phrasing sentences and using different words.

Teens need time alone, when they do not have to think about school, their social lives, or any other stressful topics. There are times when teens need to take a break from the outside world, and reading is great for that.

I look at reading as a chance to be completely unbiased with no one influencing you to form a certain opinion. The overarching themes in many books can help you open your eyes to many different subjects. Many authors choose to write content that discusses so many things that people can think about. One of my favorites is “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park, which talks about true stories of people living in foreign countries and expressing their challenges/limitations with living in poverty. I personally enjoy books that analyze real-world problems that need to have awareness brought to them.

While phones and reading are both entertaining, one appears to be more appealing. However, it is obvious that one is better for you. Reading for fun is essential, and all teens need to remember that.