Reading in the shadows: March is Reading Month talked less about in secondary schools

Molly Crouch ‘24, Social Media Manager

As you grow up, reading books in the classroom is a necessity. Not only to improve your reading level, but also to learn about different structures and lessons each author creates for their book. Reading is something that can be viewed as enjoyable to some, but to others, as a chore, or a waste of time. So when it is March is Reading Month, some could care less about picking up a book and spending their time in a more educational headspace. This attitude, in part, can be attributed to March is Reading Month’s lack of support past grade school.

March is Reading Month all started with children’s book author and illustrator Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Suess. After his death, many believed it was necessary to keep his love of books and reading alive. So, in his honor, the National Education Association (NEA) set up a Read Across America Day for March 2, Dr. Seuss’s birthday. 

During the announcement, NEA president Ben Chase said, “We are calling for every child in every school in every community to be in the company of a book on Read Across America Day, in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday.” This led to many different reading book challenges as well as designated times during the day to sit down and read during school. This is something elementary schools seem to always find time for in the schedule. But when you leave primary schools, secondary schools start to give less thought to the idea of reading time.

 Realizing there was less support for reading than the NEA wanted, many organizations such as Reading is Fundamental, decided to help increase the importance of reading by declaring March as Reading Month. The NEA’s goal was to help teengaers relize books can have a positive impact on your education and social skills. 

In 2015, the National Institute of Health conducted a study on how reading affects the brain and the way someone thinks through MRI scans. Researchers such as Dr. Whitener and Dr. Hoeft, were a part of the study that said, “We confirmed that that reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. And as your reading ability matures, those networks also get stronger and more sophisticated.” One of the most effective ways to improve your reading skills is to pick up a book consistently and read a couple pages a day, just to keep your brain stimulated. 

Along with educational improvement, the lessons that are implemented in books are useful for all ages. Novels can be packed with knowledge of hardships such as love, fear, disorders, death, and change. These topics could help develop interests and broaden one’s vocabulary, which, combined, can improve communication and writing skills. 

With the extensive benefits to reading, teens should open their eyes to the opportunities missed by viewing it as a school requirement or a waste of time, and decide to pick up a book for improvement in one’s reading, writing, and expression skills. So, instead, March is Reading Month could be the start of a new way of learning and for developing skills in life. 

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