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Do high school students still enjoy reading?


Reading is a skill most students have built since pre-school.

But as the years pass by, some students find that the enjoyment of reading starts to die down.

“To be honest, I used to read a lot in elementary school, but after I started reading more textbooks and novels for middle and high school, it just got more complicated and I lost my love for literature,” said Jaylyn Kuang, a sophomore at McClatchy High School. “Every time I read, I feel the urge to analyze and identify things like themes and symbols, which bores me.” 

Another factor is not having enough time to read outside of school, assignments and extracurricular activities.

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“For me at least, I have extracurriculars like tennis and also homework that I need to do, so I never have the time to read for just fun,” said McClatchy sophomore Annabelle Yee.

Amy Little, a Sacramento Public Library Teen Service Specialist, agrees many high schoolers do not have enough free time to read.

“Teens are often very, very busy, ” said Little. “Between school, homework, extracurriculars, socializing, and spending time with family, I think free time has become very scarce.”

However, Little said she has met plenty of young people who love to read.

“I’ve seen studies that report that youth are reading less, but in my time as a librarian I’ve encountered a ton of youth who love to read and read voraciously,” said Little. 

Some high school students, like Lily Renee Agraan, a sophomore at West Campus, provide evidence to support Little’s observation. 

“I do enjoy reading and I have for a very long time ever since I was young as it’s a great way to relax,” said Agraan. “ I could easily find myself getting sucked into the worlds. . . and I could just let my imagination run wild for a couple of hours and ignore everything else . . . after the stress of homework and school.” 

Even students who don’t do it as much for enjoyment anymore say reading has improved their academic performance by strengthening their writing skills, vocabulary use and ability to understand the books they read for school.

“Even though I do not read that often for fun, I do read for school such as assigned books and I feel like when I do read more advanced books, I learn more and this is reflected in my test scores,” said Yee.

“Reading so much has improved my writing skills for sure,” said Agraan, “just because it’s given me such an expansive vocabulary.  And . . . I’ve been exposed to so many different writing styles and tones that I’m able to use what I read in what I write.” 

Studies reveal that students who read for pleasure perform better academically.

According to an American Library Association report, “Fourth-grade students who read for fun every day score the highest on reading assessment tests. Three-quarters of students who reported reading for fun on their own time once a week or more performed at the high end of the Basic level (scores from 208-237 on the NAEP reading assessment test), while the 14% of students who never or hardly ever read for fun performed below the Basic level (scores below 208 on the test).” 

Understanding the connection between reading for enjoyment and academic performance, some teachers require silent reading time, when students have to read a book of their choice. 

“My teacher back in sixth grade made us do some silent reading and I really enjoyed it since I was able to read books that I wanted and also did not have to find time to do it since it was during class,” said Kuang. 

Students said one way to increase their willingness to read for fun is to help them find books that fit their interests.

“Something that would really help students is just being able to find books that would interest them, ” said Agraan. “I feel like .  .  . students who don’t really like to read . . . may have had bad experiences with school books.”

Another possible solution, said students, is online reading.

“Many high schoolers are so used to taking breaks with their phones, but I feel like a good solution to that is just reading digital as there are so many good options,” said Lelia Karr, a sophomore at West Campus High School. “They just need the motivation to do so.” 


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Hanna Yu
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Hi! My name is Hanna Yu and I am a sophomore attending West Campus High School. I like design and music!
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