The long lost art of reading


Samantha Freeman

The Sidekick communications manager Sreeja Mudumby grew up loving to read books which capture her imagination. However, like many others they reach high school, Mudumby now does not have the time for leisurely reading and has to settle for required reading for school, which she often finds monotonous.

Sreeja Mudumby, Communications Manager

Do you remember the feeling of sitting next to the fireplace, wrapped up in a blanket with a mug of hot cocoa, while the thick, white pages of a book lure you into a fantasy?

Yeah, me neither.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been a bookworm. Magic Tree House? You bet. Harry Potter? Been there, done that. Percy Jackson? Give me something new. My elementary and middle school days were spent reading, eating and reading some more.

Time flies. 

When I used to open a book, I wasn’t merely reading. Not at all. I was traveling to Wonderland or becoming friends with wizards. I was riding on unicorns shooting rainbows at the witches. I was dressed in a detective uniform and solving crimes with my trusty sidekick, who ended up being the criminal. I would even stay up late at night and read with a flashlight without my parents knowing.

Rebellious, I know. 

But when I entered high school, it all disappeared. Now, whenever I open a book, the wizards, monsters and pixie dust are all gone. 

All I see are words blankly staring back at me. 

I could blame this on a thousand things. Too much homework, too many clubs, balancing a social life… who has time to sit and read?

All of these things pushed aside the thing I once loved. Reading was my escape, a chance to be whoever I wanted, a chance for me to save the world by just sitting in a corner. 

According to Coppell High School librarian Trisha Goins, reading can be implemented into everyday life without having to sit in one place with a physical book. 

“I don’t really feel like I have a lot of time to sit down with a book and actually read it,” Goins said. “Yet, I’m reading between 20 and 30 books a month because I listen to audiobooks. When I get up in the morning, I put my headphones on and listen to my story and when I’m in the car, folding laundry or cleaning up the kitchen, I like to listen to my story.”

But I can’t say that I never read. Those “super fun” English novels we are assigned fill my cup.

More like add to my to-do list. 

When the teacher assigns a book, I groan at the thought of wasting so much time. Mandatory reading becomes a chore – something I had to do to keep up my grade.

Why then, if I like reading so much, would I not want to read for a grade? 

According to CHS librarian Deb Zeman, giving students the liberty to choose what they read is a good motivator. 

“I like the option of individual choice,” Zeman said. “I want the kids to go to the library, look around, try out different things. It is all about student voice and choice.”

Middle school: a time with no GPA, SAT or resume. The transition to high school contributes to a loss of free time, including reading time. 

“I don’t have enough time to read for fun,” CHS9 student Kavya Mandalapu said. “If I have time, it’s usually going towards school work.” 

Reading has always been an expression of imagination, a treasure of knowledge, a way to live 1,000 lives in one. Schools should encourage students to read what they like, because if we can just implement 10 minutes of reading time in our everyday life, the possibilities of what we could achieve are endless. 


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