For the love of ReadingJune 23, 2022 2023-05-04 7:48
For the love of Reading
For the love of Reading
As an English teacher you may expect we all love to read in our spare time and frolic through libraries every opportunity we get. Well, if that is the stereotype I am here to confirm it is true. I am an English teacher and a true bibliophile (ˈbɪblɪə(ʊ)fʌɪl: a person who collects or has a great love of books).
My Literary Life Journey
I have always loved to read books. From a very young age, I remember going to my local library and getting lost between the shelves and imaginary places displayed on the front cover art. Most of the time my mother would lose track of me and would have to furiously whisper and run around to find me. I was usually hiding in a corner, surrounded by a small mountain of literature. Throughout my school years, I loved to read, both in the classroom and in my spare time. I grew up in the era of fantasy, with Harry Potter and Hermione Granger as close friends. After high school I went on to study English Language & Literature at the University of Cape Town, this only increased my love of reading. I remember some very long nights in those epic university libraries. As an adult, I have been part of starting two book clubs – one in Cape Town, and one in London, which have been hugely enriching not just in regard to literature but also through the friendships that have been forged and strengthened through a shared common interest. I have been called a ‘book nerd’ all my life and wear the badge with pride.
Why is reading important?
Of course, from my above life story intertwined with literature it would be quite clear that I am biased towards believing reading is a core and fundamental skill everyone should love and value. But beyond my own bias there is significant scholarly evidence and research to back the importance of reading. Being able to read well and confidently underpins everything we do in education – students need to be able to read before they can access any of the work they need to learn, whether that be in mathematics, science, geography or a language course. Reading is undeniably vital. Furthermore, reading is a key feature of learning to communicate in the world, as reading improves and expands our vocabulary. I would argue that in our increasingly technologically focused world we need to be reading more than ever!
Reading for pleasure
Beyond the academic improvements that reading can offer, it can also be a means of escape. I have certainly gone through difficult times, moving to a new country being one of the biggest challenges I have faced in the past few years. And reading has always been a comfort, a way to escape the stress of life into an imaginary world where anything can happen. Reading can help with depression and anxiety as well as being a good way to wind down after a long day before going to sleep. It’s time to stop scrolling through TikTok and try reading a book before bed!
What to read? When there are endless choices and you are an apprehensive reader it can be difficult to know where to start, we often have this conversation in English classes across KS3 and 4. I always urge my students to try and start with something light and something they are interested in – think about your hobbies, your interests, perhaps even a TV series or movie you enjoy – and then look for interesting novels from those ideas in mind! You never know what you may come across. For anyone who enjoys a good psychological thriller, come to me for recommendations any day!