March 3, 2014 by Skyler Stanford
Reading is required for students at Saratoga Springs High School. In a survey conducted with 100 ninth and tenth graders from Saratoga Springs High School more than 50% of the teens surveyed don’t like to read. Is it possible that the parents and teachers trying to establish a love for reading are actually destroying it? Could there be a different reasons?
Reading requires time. “I’m too busy to read, I have cheerleading and homework” said Molly Nunn ’17, a student at SSHS. Teens are busy with sports, homework, and their social lives. “I don’t see the point of reading if it is not mandatory,” said Misty Briere also a ninth grader at Saratoga. Both she and Molly categorize it with work since reading is a big part of homework these days and because it takes time. Also reading can sometimes be confusing because of vocabulary and unfamiliar terms and phrases. “I often get lost and forget what I am reading or just get bored” Briere said. Most would agree it’s hard to see yourself reading in your free time for fun if reading has never been as fun or as easy as picking up a remote and watching TV.
In hopes to get teens to become better readers, teachers across the country are giving their students books that they have chosen for them to read, even though 42% of the students surveyed didn’t like the books selected for them and 87% said that they would rather pick out their own books. Every teen has their own likes and dislikes and things that intrigue them. They can’t be expected to like books that they didn’t have any initial interest in but still are forced to read. In order for them to love reading they have to at least like the book they are reading and feel free to go at any pace they wish while not having to stress about being graded on it or reading it all in time.
During a freshman English class teens were asked what makes a “good” short story. Nunn responded by saying that she likes plot twists full of suspense. Isabelle Wells likes funny stories with a lot of humor like Shel Silverstein books. DJ Baker said dialogue and dynamic characters with different personalities are important to keep the reader from getting bored. Jocelyn Hall agreed that a story should be relatable, have comprehensible vocabulary and have a solid ending. These are the things that must be in books given to teens in order for them to learn to love reading. Books that are outdated, have tough vocabulary, and that kids can’t relate to will be difficult to read and enjoy.
Books are a great way to explore different views on the world and acquire strong morals that can be hidden in well written tales. Everyone can get something out of reading but you have to read to become a better reader and find out exactly what you can get out of a beautifully written book.
Skyler Stanford is a freshman staff writer for The Lightning Rod.