“The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.”

Well said, John Wooden…

Today’s activity in class made me realize the importance of reading and how it is undervalued in today’s society. Why not turn on the TV and catch up on the latest episode of Pretty Little Liars, instead? Isn’t it so much easier to just sit on the couch and scroll down your Twitter feed and update on your social networks? Why not, you may ask? Because there are so many books out there to discover and new things to learn.

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And here are a few benefits of reading:

1. Reading can reduce stress. Books have the ability to distract you from life problems/stress. It’s a proven fact!

2. It can slow your progress of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, diseases that are often caused by a lack of mental engagement and activity.

3. You can expand your vocabulary through reading. This can enhance your essay-writing skills, communication skills, as well as in your profession.

4. Reading improves your focus and concentration.

5. And most importantly, reading is free!!! Go to a library or download a few books online and start now.

My English teacher prepared a few AP prompts and instructed us to pick any novel that we had read in the past, preferably one that provided enough content and analysis, to respond to the prompt. I made the mistake of choosing a young adult novel only to find that it was not “acceptable.” Yeah, it was an enjoyable book, just not quite high-school/college level material. And what I mean by high-school/college material are books  written in Old English. Yeah, those boring ones your teacher keeps bringing up. The ones written by Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway and Jane Austen. But… those are the books that are the key to you passing the AP test at the end of the year. The essay grader is not looking for a mediocre essay, but an AMAZING essay provided with evidence from important pieces of literature in American history. I realized that maybe I needed to include some variety in my “reading log.” I could still read the enjoyable young-adult novels in my free time, but maybe reading different books written in different time periods and backgrounds could really enhance my learning experience. Not such a bad idea…

“Read. Read. Read. Just don’t read one type of book. Read different books by various authors so that you develop different style.”– R.L. Stine

-Michelle Doan

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