Sponsored by the National Education Association, Read Across America Day occurred on March 2, 2021 with the goal of uplifting diverse voices and encouraging individuals of all ages and backgrounds to engage with literature.
The goal of this reading event is to “promote the message there is room in our community for all readers.”
Reading is a part of everyone’s lives. We read menus and articles and subtitles and road signs. Students, in particular, generally have at least one class dedicated to reading and writing; however, not every student recognizes the importance and beauty of reading.
Junior Jessica Ruano loves to read because “I feel like it’s an alternate reality where I can find comfort in the characters.”
Indeed, this is a common sentiment in the Long Reach reading community.
Senior Assata Harris, a three-year member of the book club, says, “Reading allows me to step into someone else’s shoes for a moment and escape the stress of life.”
Abby Price, another three-year member of the book club and secretary of National English Honors Society, agrees, claiming that reading helps her slip away from reality and forget her responsibilities for a short time.
A pandemic is the perfect opportunity to make time in your schedule for reading. Not only will this help pass the time, but it also has the capability to help one’s mental health.
Senior Leslie Deiss, president of National English Honors Society, explains, “When we’re isolated and struggling…reading can be a great way to feel grounded. Students who are able to bury their nose in a book are able to cope with the feelings of seclusion and depression that many have faced due to the pandemic.”
Reading is precious to many because of the escape from reality it provides. In addition, reading is a tool that can be used to help people feel seen and spark friendships.
Harris says, “The more I read about stories and lives that are not like my own, the more I am able to empathize with others and understand what they’re going through, which has made me a better person.”
By exposing yourself to other cultures and mindsets and backgrounds, reading can help one gain perspective and understanding for a larger population of people.
Harris continues, “Reading, and especially diversifying your literature, is imperative if you want to get rid of some dangerous stereotypes like black men being violent or racism no longer existing today.”
Reading is, surprisingly, a community in and of itself. Deiss explains, “If you find someone who has read or is reading the same book as you, it can spark connections between you and that person to hopefully make quarantine less lonely.”
Harris also mentions that “reading is a good way for me to connect with new people.”
But there are countless books that exist in the world right now. It’s enough to overwhelm a new reader, so where should you start?
To those who are worried that they don’t have what it takes to be a reader, Price assures, “If you’ve got a pair of eyes, congratulations! You can read! Honestly, it’s about finding something you like, trying new things, and seeing where it takes you.”
While the amount of books out there might seem overwhelming, it just means that there are limitless possibilities for you to expand your world.
Senior Kailey Leibe describes a good book as one that “makes you feel like you’re a part of a story.” These kinds of books are generally the most impactful and interesting, especially to new readers.
Ruano believes a good book “has an epic plot with romance, adventure, and some tragedy.”
Do epic plots with romance and adventure matter to you like they do to Jessica Ruano? Or would you opt for a book that confronts social issues and stereotypes, like Assata Harris?
No matter your preference, Deiss recommends, “Either talk with your English teacher or our librarian about books or simply log onto our school’s online library to start. I would think about what movies and TV shows you like and start with a book of the same genre.”
Get busy reading, Long Reach! See where it can take you and what it can teach you.