I often hear my students lament about how they used to be avid readers when they were younger, a hobby they can even seem nostalgic about with wonder on how to capture the love of reading again. More and more they are competing with screen time and captivated by social media, but they can be enticed.
The truth is that one of the best ways for students to prepare for college is to read widely. In fact, did you know that the term for “studying” a subject in the UK is synonymous with “reading”? The Brits have been known to say, “I’m reading physics” or “I’m reading politics and economics” in reference to their field of study at the university.
I’m challenging all of my students to find joy in reading this summer. I’ve been updating this list of recommended reading suggestions with short storylines so my students can find books that speak to them. If they hesitate to pick one up, I’ll suggest they try reading or listening along with audiobooks — a great way to pass the time on a road trip or by the poolside on vacation.
The benefits of reading are many and range from pure escapism to better college essay writing skills. Scientific research finds that reading literally changes your mind by developing neural pathways and making deeper connections within the brain that have long term benefits for building language, literacy, and social and emotional skills that can have lifelong health benefits. If these findings are not a strong enough motivator, students will find that some colleges ask specifically about books a student has enjoyed recently either as part of an essay prompt or in an admissions interview. Furthermore, reading in areas of academic interest helps students understand what questions to be asking and gives them a frame of reference to envision their future educational goals and consider what they might seek to achieve in a special major or program.
So this summer season, let’s entice students away from their screens and onto the pages of engrossing stories, tales, and discoveries that will bring a new level of reading adventure to their lives!