Reading for Pleasure to Get Ready for College

BY KELLY HAND

SullivanblogLelandFranciscoCCby2.0Parents and teens worry a great deal about what it takes to get into college, but as they prioritize advanced courses, SAT prep, and extracurricular activities, it’s easy to forget about what it takes to succeed in college. In his new online May–June Academe article, “An Open Letter to High School Students about Reading,” Patrick Sullivan discusses research on the importance of reading for pleasure.

Most parents and teachers encourage reading because they perceive it as generally good—especially as an alternative to excessive “screen time.” However, the research Sullivan alludes to indicates that the benefits of reading extend across the disciplines (including math) and throughout life. He discusses new insights into the brain’s “neuroplasticity,” which enables us to continue learning, and the value of “deep reading,” which results in greater understanding than “surface reading.”

Sullivan recognizes that students’ negative attitudes about reading often derive from their educational experiences. That makes it all the more important that students have positive experiences with reading outside of school. Noting that free choice of reading materials helps to nurture a love of reading, Sullivan urges students to “find a way right now to enjoy reading.”

Articles from the current and past issues of Academe are available online. AAUP members receive a subscription to the magazine, available both by mail and as a downloadable PDF, as a benefit of membership.

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