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Hi, my name is Iasmina, and I’m a sophomore at HEHS. On top of writing for Hawkeye View, I am a member of the Speech, Math, and Tennis teams, as well as Book Club. I love cats, reading, nature, and watching...

To read or not to read

We know reading skills are critical, but how do we find the time to read what we want to read and what we have to read?
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

When it comes to high schoolers and reading their first response is often “I hate it.” As someone who finds reading outside of school relaxing, I wondered why more of my peers see all reading as a chore.

Perhaps students are so overwhelmed with responsibilities that is often more convenient to just pick up a phone and scroll through short real-life stories than committing to a longer book. Maybe someone has had a bad experience reading at some point during their education and now cannot see reading as anything but a painful chore. Could it be that we all are focused on so much that finding focus to read feels impossible?

“I cannot hold my focus for that long to read a book,” said Kayla Gawlik, a sophomore at HEHS. Maintaining focus can be a struggle when individuals feel like there is too much information coming at them on a daily basis and there is more and more expected of them.

Teenagers also are constantly being asked to consider the future, which can make it challenging to focus in the present moment. There is always something to occupy their minds; there is no time to think in the moment. Many people are so focused on what’s to come that they cannot possibly focus on what is. At any given moment, someone can be focused on the following all at the same time: getting their driver’s license, scheduling classes for next year, applying for college, seeking jobs, finishing assignments for school, and managing sports and activity involvement.

All of this focusing on the future and managing of life’s commitments can restrict people from taking time for themselves and knowing just how to step back from the stresses of the future to enjoy the present. This might stop teenagers from enjoying time to themselves to do hobbies, one of which might be to submerge themselves into a good book of their choosing. When it comes to reading, it can be a very time consuming thing and teenagers just don’t have the attention span for that. 

With all the technology available to us, [choosing apps over a good book] sometimes becomes the easy way out that brings us a temporary feeling of satisfaction,” said Sarah Peterson, a librarian at HEHS.

Social media is a big part of everyone’s lives now and is an easy way out of reality for most people. They can open up Instagram and be free of their worries by looking at other peoples’ lives. People actually are reading constantly because of the the instant access to content via the phone or iPad.

The news is a great example of how individuals are working on reading skills without even knowing it. There is so much happening all over the world and people want to know what’s going on right now, so they are reading news articles. People also watch the news, but that can still be considered reading because we are reading people and situations and gaining information. There are characters and conflicts in news and peoples’ news feeds. 

“In a school setting we often have required reading materials for class, and a lack of time to read something we hand select,” said Sarah Peterson.

When it comes to social media and the news we read, that is information we choose to read. How do we learn to become curious about the information we do not choose to read, like reading what is assigned in our classes? And, how do we still make time to read a book that just may be a story we need in our lives? This can be a challenge, but I believe it is a challenge worth tackling.



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About the Contributor
Hi, my name is Madison Davis. I am a sophomore at HEHS. I’m a member of the Hawkeye View, and I'm also involved in the Photography Club. I enjoy spending quality time with friends and my family. Something I am very passionate about is reading. My favorite book is The Giver by Lois Lowry. Once high school is over I would like to study to eventually become an optometrist.