Confessions of a Bibliophile

Why Reading is Still Important

Maxie Eller, Writer

Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, there were these things called libraries. People would go into these institutions and check out books. These books were bound pieces of paper with words written in them that people would read for knowledge or for fun. People, especially teenagers, don’t seem to really use libraries or books anymore. They have almost become ancient history. 


It’s true that reading is not commonplace anymore. Many high schoolers don’t read except for books required for classes, and even then, they might not read those books either. Our generation is falling into the habit of not looking at books, not venturing into the library, and not knowing who important characters are in literature. That needs to change. Teenagers need to be reading books. 


Reality is tough. We’re constantly surrounded by news, ideas, and messages that don’t lift our spirits. It is really discouraging to walk around with those messages bombarding us. Reading is an escape. It’s a chance to see into a different world. It’s a chance to inspire us to want to change our world. Reading is a distraction that can really help to block out the negative in our lives. In the great words of Albus Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Books are that light. 


Books teach us things that we can’t learn in a classroom. They teach us about helping others, standing up for what you believe in, and having good moral values. Characters in books show us what it takes to be the hero in your own story. They empower us to be better than who we are and give us someone to look up to. I can picture my favorite characters and imagine what they did in their stories and use that as inspiration on my own. 


Beyond the classroom, reading is important to our imagination. It enhances creativity and ideas. When you read about dragons and knights and crumbling old castles, you have to be able to visualize the events in your mind. Creativity is essential to existence. I remember as a little kid my neighbor read The Boxcar Children. We spent weeks after that in my backyard pretending that we had to survive out in the “wild”. It was fun to pretend to be in a different place and time. 


Some say that reading takes too long and they don’t have the time to sit and read through an entire book. That’s not true. I used to carry at least two books in my backpack every day. I would read during class when I was finished with my work and sometimes I would walk through the halls with my nose buried in the latest addition to my series. Reading only a few pages or words every day can really make a difference in your life.


I have to admit that physical books can be heavy. They’re bulky and aren’t always easy to carry around. That can be a huge drawback to reading, but there are now online books that are available at the touch of a button. There are also many platforms that offer audiobooks such as Audible and Google Audiobooks. You can listen to a book rather than having to physically turn its pages. It can save time and help those who find it difficult to read a physical book.  


Even if you don’t read very well right now, reading more will help you improve. Practice makes perfect. Reading helps to improve vocabulary, grammar, writing skills, and diction. The more you read, the better you become. It will definitely help when it comes to writing essays or giving speeches. You sound smarter when you know what you want to say. That knowledge can only come from reading. 


Of course, reading is really only as good as the book that you’re flipping through. People say that reading is boring, but that’s only because they’re not reading the right book. Reading becomes truly enjoyable only when you’re reading something that you like. Whether that be non-fiction or fiction, everyone has something that can appeal to them. Some of my favorite books are Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. That doesn’t mean that everyone else will like the same books as me. Find something that you enjoy and then read it. It’s that simple. 


Libraries aren’t ancient buildings with old librarians and dusty scrolls on shelves. They are spaces of learning and discovery. Libraries and books are adventures that anyone can go on. I challenge you to check out a book and read it. Actually take the time to sit down and read a book cover to cover. It is amazing what can happen when you read a good book.