The Loss of Literature

By Bella Mananno

I have a quick question for you: when was the last time you picked up a book for your enjoyment and just read? When was the last time that you grabbed a cup of tea, maybe a warm blanket, made your way to the nearest couch, armchair, or bed to just relax and enjoy a good book. When was the last time that you took an hour or two to yourself and just read — for fun — not for school, not for research — for your own enjoyment.

I asked some students to fill out a survey asking them a few questions regarding what they do in their free time: whether or not they read, and when they read. The results were tragic. When I asked students what they did in their spare time, 18 out of 37 responses related to video games, phone screens, or television. What surprised me though, was how many students said that they did not have much spare time at all because they are too busy with school, homework, or sports. I wish this was not the case.  

Next, I simply asked students if they read; the results again surprised me. 76.3 percent of students said that, “yes, they did” and 23.7% said “no.” If I’m being completely honest, I thought that the percentages would be switched because of the amount of people I know who pride themselves on not completing a book in at least 3 years.

Finally, I asked students when they read and asked them to choose at most three out of seven possible responses. 8 students chose every day after school, 7 students once a week, 4 students three to five times a month, 15 only on break, and 10 only a few times a year. But 18 students admitted to reading only if it was for school, and 7 revealed that they never read, either because they’re too busy or don’t like reading.

I wish the numbers could say that at least 30 students are reading either everyday after school or on the weekends because reading is so good for you for so many reasons. According to a study done by Reader’s Digest:

“Reading a book (of any genre) forces your brain to think critically and make connections […] When you make connections, so does your brain, literally forging new pathways between regions in all four lobes and both hemispheres. Over time, these neural networks can promote quicker thinking and may provide a greater defense against the worst effects of cognitive decay.”

The same article by Reader’s digest also talks about how reading can help when learning a new language and how reading can greatly improve one’s vocabulary. Additionally, a different article I read by Exploring Your Mind discusses how reading can help reduce stress and anxiety levels and help with depression. A quote from the article that spoke to me stated “a good book or beautiful poem can help you recognize, ease, and heal the emotional pain that can make it feel like you’re submerged in icy water,” and I completely agree. Through the development of the Warrior Word I’ll be finding books recommended to me by teachers, friends, and fellow book enthusiasts and taking a spin on book reviews, so please come by whenever you are in need of a good book to read.

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