The Importance of Reading

Happy Summer to you all! I’ve just finished another novel (5th of the summer so far 😊), so I switched back to a teaching book that I’ve been looking forward to reading. It’s called Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters. It’s written by two of my favorite teacher authors–Kylene Beers and Robert Probst–and yet again, they haven’t disappointed me.

So why am I telling you all of this? Well, I just read a passage that makes me think about the year that has just passed and the new one that will be here before we know it. It was something that made me perk up in my seat and remember what it is that I love about reading–and besides that, it’s something that I feel compelled to share with you all.

Beers and Probst write, “The most important reading we do is reading that is more than merely pleasurable. It does more than offer moments for us to lose ourselves. Indeed, the most important reading we do gives us a chance to find ourselves, perhaps to change ourselves” (59).

I love that. I love the idea not only of losing yourself in a book or a character, which is what happens when you think about the story that you’re reading even when you’re not reading, but also of finding new things. For me, reading is not just an escape from my own reality, but also a way to encounter things or experiences I’ve never encountered before. It’s also a way to think about things differently. Before I read Crank, for example, I’d never really imagined what it    was like to struggle with an addiction. Before I read Wintergirls, I’d never known what some people with eating disorders felt. Thankfully, these haven’t been experiences in my life, but because of reading, I might have just a little bit of an idea of what others might be experiencing, and because of that, maybe I can be more understanding or compassionate to those who are struggling with those things.

I know I’ve told some of you that one of my favorite books is Atlas Shrugged, that 1000 page book that makes most of you nervous but that I’ve read 11 times.  😊 There’s lots of layers to that book, but one of them is a political/philosophical layer. It’s not that I agree with all of the positions or philosophies put forth in the book, but it makes me think about what I really do believe and why, and for that reason I keep reading it.

This is getting long and babbly now, but that’s one of the big reasons behind the big push for more reading this year. Not only do I believe that this is a skill that you all need to cultivate and practice more in order to do well in college, it’s a life skill that will help to prepare you for life.

Happy reading my friends! If you’re not sure what to read this summer, shoot me an email. I’ve got suggestions! 😊