When I was younger, my dad had a contest every summer called “penny a page.” For every page we read in the summer, we got a penny. I took this contest very seriously. Although the contest was supposed to be against ourselves, I wanted to read the most out of my siblings. It was harder for me to win because my brother would be reading novels while I was still reading picture books. I think that’s why I became a better reader--because I wanted nothing more than to earn more money than my brother and sister. One summer I even checked out a book on how to read faster so I could win.
It was in those summers when I found this weird love –or obsession—with reading. I still have it today. During quarantine I’ve already read six books.
I think it’s vital for everyone to read. Everyone can get something different from it, but for me personally, I get an escape. I get to live in someone else’s world or mind for three hundred pages, and I love it. It’s like seeing the world in a different way.
Of course there are some factual benefits to reading, like a complex vocabulary or greater knowledge on a subject, but according to the One World Literacy Foundation, reading can actually boost your self-esteem: “When you are well read, people will look to you for answers which also builds self-confidence and self-worth.”
Reading will expose you not only to different worlds, but different nationalities, cultures, and even history. Instead of learning about the Renaissance in a classroom, you can read about it through the perspective of a young girl in Florence.
I know not every teenager is a bookworm, and I’m not saying you should become one. Instead, make it a goal to read one book that genuinely interests you a year. Don’t pick a book that you’ve been assigned for a class or by a school, pick one you want to read. Maybe the book you pick to read starts a new addiction with reading.
If you want to keep track of the number of books you’ve read, or even look for new ones, Goodreads is a great website to check out!