National Literacy Month


Kendall Claar

Summer has ended and school has just begun. Over the past couple of weeks students across the country have headed back to school, and with that came the dreaded reading assignments. Ironically enough, September is National Literacy Month, which promotes school age children to pick up a book and read.

As a high school student reading is often a mandatory part of the curriculum, which makes it difficult for students to pick up a book for outside of school reading. It’s incredibly easy to write off in-school reading requirements as an excuse to not read outside of school, but the benefits of reading are truly profound. If you’re one of the countless people who don’t make reading a regular habit, then you might be missing out.

Reading has many benefits including stress reduction, vocabulary expansion, memory improvement, stronger analytical thinking skills, improved focus and concentration, and better writing skills. Based off of the examples above, it’s easy to see that reading has a greater impact on us than many initially realize. The vocabulary expansion that reading provides is especially important, as it’s been shown that there’s a positive correlation between one’s vocabulary in grade twelve, the likelihood that they will graduate from college, and their future level of income.

In order to understand the importance of vocabulary, you have to understand the basics of memory. Our working memory is the space where we solve our problems; it’s a small space that can only hold a few items in suspension at a time. Therefore, one method for problem solving is to reduce the number of items in one’s working memory. This process is often called chunking, with words being especially effective chunking devices. If you put a single word in your working memory, all of the ideas that you associate with that word will come to mind. This single word serves as a proxy for the aspects needed to solve one’s problem. Thus, a large vocabulary is an incredibly effective coping device that can increase one’s ability to solve problems. This shows how important learning new vocabulary is, if you want to increase your chances of success in life.

Through reading, you’ve learned about the importance of reading and why a whole month is dedicated to promoting national literacy. You can find an amazing selection of books at your local bookstore, public library, and even right here at school. I can only implore you to go out, pick up a book, and read!

Here’s a list of the best young adult books of 2017:

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  • Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
  • La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust series, #1) by Philip Pullman
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi
  • Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
  • An Enchantment of Raven’s by Margaret Rogerson
  • The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  • Confessions of a High School Disaster by Emma Chastain
  • City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
  • Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Now I Rise by Kiersten White
  • Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
  • A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland
  • Like Water by Rebecca Podos
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  • Landscape with Invisible Hand, by M.T. Anderson
  • In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
  • Midnight at the Electric, by Jodi Lynn Anderson
  • Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser