Reading proves beneficial to students

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Mariana Colom

Reading can help students in the long term effect.

Opening the book, she felt special and different. Characters sprang up to life from the dusty pages, giggles bounced around and knowledge conquered boredom. It was a whole new world. A world that came from a mother’s dream. The girl was proud of saying that she was a reader.

“I feel different than other people when entering a library, unique in a way. I want to stay there forever, pursuing them all,” Karina Benitez, avid reader since a young child, said.

Most parents expect their kids to grow up as readers. This was because, according to Reading Is Fundamental (rif), books helped children by stimulating their imagination and expanding their understanding of the world. It also developed their language and listening skills.

“Reading makes us more whole in education and the perfection of our language. It also helps us with our way of communication,” Benitez said.

Most parents strive for their kids to be kind and empathetic people. Usually sitting down and talking with them was not the best way to achieve this. Parents realized that an easy way to do this was by giving them the gift of reading. Keith Oatley, professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, said individuals who often read fiction appear to be better able to understand others.

“Reading can make you a better person because we make connections with characters and their experiences.  We are able to experience good and evil through a character’s experience, and we then apply lessons from stories to our own lives.  You might read a book with a character that you admire, and then you might act more like them in certain times,” Kyle Opera, language arts teacher, said.

Patience was also pointed out as the biggest difference between non-readers versus readers.

“The biggest difference about students who like to read versus the ones who don’t, is patience.  Reading is a skill.  It is like playing basketball.  Just like playing a sport requires practice each day before you can dribble and shoot and score consistently-in the same way, students who commit to working on reading and practicing everyday have patience, understand more, and continually improve as readers,” Opera said.

Kids also had an advantage with reading. As they grow up, life morphed into a more intense version and escapes are seeked. That escape could be found in books. In a study from the University of Sussex, it was discovered that reading could reduce stress by up to 68 percent.

“I still enjoy reading because when I read, it transports me into another world and I can forget everything. It makes me feel good,” Benitez said.

According to lifehack.org, those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions faster and more often. This does not just apply to the professional world, however.

“Reading has helped me today as an adult to establish wider conversations with people. I have

morals that I always reflect onto my own life. And I can teach my daughter the love of reading,”

Benitez said.

Having a diverse knowledge of the world is vital now-a-days. Books could be a child’s portal to that knowledge.

“I started reading Indian literature when I was 14. I learned about gods, customs, popular myths, and fables. I could see the difference in India from the rest of the world. I saw how unique everyone on this planet is,” Benitez said.

The real question, however, was how to embrace it, not why. Most people agree that everyone has a reader inside them, the only thing needed was to know how to lure it out. This is done with the power of a good book.

“The first real chapter book I remember reading is ‘The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.’ It drew me into reading because it centered on a female character in the 1800’s who is traveling by boat from England to America. I just loved her strong will and intelligence.  She was the kind of person I wanted to be,” Opera said.

Shanna Schwartz, lead senior staff developer at Columbia University Teachers College Reading and Writing Project in New York City, suggested a couple of other things to sweep anyone into the literature world: Start with audiobooks and turn to books during tough times. It is also recommended to read as much as possible from good books.

“The more you do, the better you will be.  I also would encourage them to not stick with a

book they do not love. Pick up and put down books until you find one you do not want to put

down,” Opera said.

Most importantly do not stop reading, it can take people to so many places and opportunities.

“Do not stop reading because it is a special experience and provides a deep spiritual enhancement,” Benitez said.

She gently closed the book. This time, she did not forget the joy, love, and knowledge. Instead she took them along with her in life’s meandering path.