Kendall Hunt Publishing

Reading: A Novel Idea

July 8, 2021

By: Laurel Curtiss

Maybe this sounds familiar to you . . .

Your phone alerts you that your screen time has gone up 32% this week, every week. You make excuses. “Maybe I accidentally left my phone on overnight,” or “I must have fallen asleep watching TikTok,” or even “Surely that entire tv show I binged on my phone last night doesn’t count.”

Soon, the iPhone Screen Time settings page becomes too boring to look at, and you head to the Home Screen in search of an app more worthy of your time.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve made the startling discovery that you haven’t read a single book this summer. Suddenly, breaking at each chapter of Pride and Prejudice to scroll through social media for an hour isn’t fun anymore; it’s just sad. Maybe it’s time to put down the phone and pick up a book.

It has been suggested by the Jenkins Group that roughly a third of students who graduate high school in the United States will never read another book after school. Unfortunately, this could be partially due to reading requirements imposed by teachers and parents which have been found to lessen students’ enjoyment of reading as well as curb their ambition to read. Students who do not read voluntarily are more likely to associate reading with negative emotions.

Although it is necessary to promote reading in your classroom through assignments and activities, reading does not have to feel like a chore. Developing a love of reading in your students can be as simple as providing literature that covers multiple genres, includes a variety of characters for students to relate to, and supports varying reading levels.

From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Romeo and Juliet, students can enjoy the freedom to choose books that suit their reading preferences while gaining knowledge through supplemental literary resources at an affordable price point. The Navigators Heritage Series is a collection of questions and activities intended to support group or independent study of a variety of popular literary works. The series provides K-12 students with the opportunity to develop and expand their ability to analyze and interpret literature. The wide selection of supplemental questions and activities allows students of varying reading levels to increase their vocabulary, thinking skills, and overall comprehension of language.

Reading is one of the most beneficial hobbies available to us; not only does it allow us to explore new worlds, it has also been proven to change our brains for the better. Reading has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure, improve brain power, and even increase lifespan. When we read, we experience “grounded cognition,” which is a phenomenon that allows us to experience the sensations we’re reading about. Not only that, but reading has also been shown to rewire our brains to create new white matter, improve our memories, and expand our attention spans.

Inspiring a love of reading in students is crucial; not only does it allow students to explore new worlds and concepts but it also supports brain development. Encouraging discussion can help students think critically about the works they read as well as improve their ability to decode text, and providing options can embolden students to explore what aspects of the literary world interest them.

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