A recent report from the American Library Association (ALA) confirms what many with personal experience have long believed: students who read for pleasure are more likely to perform
better on standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT. Further, the study found benefits beyond mere increases in test scores, noting marked improvements in vocabulary, reading comprehension, spelling facility, grammar, and world knowledge. But there is a catch --- these students must pursue reading voluntarily; that is, they have to choose to read without being forced to. Often there is a myth that students must be reading the same few “classic” books that are so often found on summer reading lists. While these books are fantastic (and include some of my personal favorites), there are plenty of ways to benefit from reading newer, more “fun” books that might appeal more to younger students. This includes young adult books, comic books, cartoons, and books based on video games or movies that the student likes. So why is reading quite so beneficial? Well, for one, it is exercise! Much like going for a run makes your heart, lungs, and muscles stronger, reading makes your brain stronger. Second, it teaches you more about the world. Books, both fiction and non-fiction can transport you all over the world, allow you to time travel and to meet new and interesting people. This helps build out your imagination too. Lastly, reading can expose you to words or grammatical practices that you have never heard or seen before. This ‘tricks’ your brain into subconsciously learning them! Reading is fun, and it's beneficial! Once you find the right book for you, don’t hesitate to reap all the rewards that are waiting for you within the covers of your next favorite book!