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Do Kids Read Enough?

Jennifer Venus, Staff Writer

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Technology is taking kids by storm, impacting both free time and class time. But is the latest technology having the desired effect of so many parents and educators? Are kids reading enough?

This year’s incoming seventh graders were the first to take part in the district-wide initiative to give each student an iPad. The students can use these devices for classwork, projects or personal time in their schedule. This iPad is becoming a digital notebook for all students. But my concern is whether kids are taking advantage of reading on these devices.

I have asked my peers, and through my brief, unofficial surveys, it appears that very few students are reading outside of school for pleasure. In my opinion, kids are simply not reading enough outside of school. Reading is an amazing escape from reality when school, or other events in a child’s life, is stressful. It can lead the reader into a world of fantasy with exciting adventures. Some people might argue that video games and movies can offer the same result, but I would disagree. Reading forces you to develop mental images, deciding what characters look like based on the attributes mentioned in the book. The reader must imagine the landscape and consider the direction the plot may take. Books fuel imagination which leads to intelligence.

The importance of reading is present in so many studies on improving students’ performance in school. Hopefully, the ease of having iPads will increase the willingness of young people to do so.

As Albert Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.” I have a challenge for you. I challenge you to read a book every month for pleasure for a whole year. Can you do it? If you succeed, you will likely be rewarded with the gift of imagination.

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