Students Struggle to Find Time for Pleasure Reading

In the life of today’s high school student, reading for pleasure is a low priority.  Students have many things that take up their time like school, homework, jobs, social media, church, sports, Netflix and even games on their phones.

The many ways students distract themselves from everyday worries, or simply to entertain themselves, no longer seem to include pleasure reading.

Pernille Ripp, a seventh grade English teacher from Wisconsin, might have figured it out.

She says, ”We’re constantly reading for skill and asking kids to do something with their reading, and then wondering why they’re choosing to never pick up another book. They can’t wait to get out of school so that they don’t have to read.”

Ripp makes a good point. Academic reading is such a large part of the school experience that pleasure reading gets lost and feels like just another chore to the majority of students.

One of our English teachers at Dimond, Soren Wuerth, has a similar opinion.

“It’s a mistake that schools don’t let students read what they want to,” Wuerth said.

I know I even feel this way sometimes and I am an avid pleasure reader. Our classes require so much reading that the mind gets fatigued with the process.

“I try to make time to read for fun every weekend, even if I have a lot of other homework,” said Savannah Woodke, an honor student and senior at Dimond. “Students these days have a shorter attention span and don’t want to put in the effort of reading if they could watch a movie or play a video game instead.”

Reading has given me the opportunity to escape the worries of the everyday. I come from a family who has always encouraged me to read and have exposed me to many books and authors. But for other students, this isn’t always the case.

“Students who didn’t come from families of readers, not read to as a child, or don’t have books at home tend to not enjoy reading,” Wuerth said.  “Schools have made reading a chore with all the extra work required.”

Research from the New School for Social Research in New York has proven that reading literary fiction enhances the ability to detect and understand other people’s emotions. This is very important skill that will help students in the future prepare to join the workforce and the rest of our lives.

I sat down with my good friend Gracie Schutte, a senior here at Dimond.

She is the president of Dumbledore’s Army [Harry Potter Club] and an avid reader herself. She has been reading along with me since 7th grade.

“Reading is a magical experience. Once I found the right book, reading became fun for me.

On the outside, books to students look boring and uninteresting, but in the inside it can take you to a whole other world,” Schutte said.

“Making kids read traditionally harder books is a high stakes gamble.  It can make kids think they “suck” at reading and make them set books down and never pick them up  again, Wuerth said.

“I think the school should have a special reading room for students to go whenever they like and have time to read whatever they want to.”

In conclusion, students at Dimond don’t make time to read in there day to day life for fun.

As technology gets more advanced and high school classes get harder, less and less people will read for fun unless schools find a way to incorporate pleasure reading.

“All you need is three things; a book, a place to read and time,” Wuerth said.