Language & Composition

Mr. Eure | Brewster High School

Your Reading Life

When we talk about reading in an English classroom, we’re usually talking about one subset of one mode of discourse: fictional narratives in novel form. This is a limited view of reading—important, of course, but also limited. You read far more in your daily life than novels like 1984 or Of Mice and Men. You read Facebook feeds, Twitter feeds, emails, newspapers, magazines, textbooks, text messages, advertisements, and handouts, to name only part of the total list. So we ought to start the discussion with a broad question:

What does your reading life look like?

Answer this in your compendium or Google Drive, and then, as we discuss your thoughts in class, transfer the conversation into the comments section of this post. To begin, it might help to have a sort of metaphor—in this case, that your reading habits are a kind of diet. There are as many types of texts out there as there are types of food, and as many approaches to reading as to eating. Some people believe you need a balance to be healthy; others promote one particular focus over others. This isn’t to suggest that the novels you’re assigned in English class are healthy, while Twitter and text messages are junk food, however. It’s simply to point out that you are consuming text constantly and in many, many different forms, and that there as many fads in reading instruction as there are in dieting. basic definition of reading is the act of processing letters and words to construct meaning. You can read more about the process here, and I’d pay careful attention to the following concept (paraphrased from that article):

Rates of reading include reading for memorization (fewer than 100 words per minute [wpm]); reading for learning (100–200 wpm); reading for comprehension (200–400 wpm); and skimming (400–700 wpm). Reading for comprehension is the essence of the daily reading of most people. Skimming is for superficially processing large quantities of text at a low level of comprehension (below 50%).  The average wpm at age 14-15 when reading for learning is 150 wpm.

The spectrum between skimming (e.g., when you read Wikipedia for two hours, then forget everything you read) and reading to memorize (e.g., when you study for a test in a history class) is important to this discussion. You need a sense of how quickly you consume information, what you do with that information, and how long it stays with you. It might help to know that 150 words look like this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed vitae libero a felis condimentum bibendum id aliquet tortor. Donec vitae tortor a massa scelerisque ornare quis in nibh. Aliquam ornare lacinia cursus. Sed id enim sit amet tellus faucibus commodo ac nec augue. Aenean eget nulla nisi, ac suscipit leo. Nulla a vestibulum ligula. In sit amet nibh dui, vitae elementum dolor. Duis varius dapibus mauris vel dictum. Donec lobortis velit a lectus convallis quis blandit felis aliquet. Sed mollis placerat semper. Nunc ut massa eu dui iaculis eleifend pellentesque non ipsum. Fusce tellus urna, tincidunt nec mollis ac, blandit pretium ante. Ut imperdiet tellus sed lacus convallis et adipiscing urna porta. Etiam sagittis varius sapien, sed pharetra nibh pulvinar nec. Curabitur ornare ornare quam eu auctor. Vivamus quis ante vel dolor suscipit blandit. Ut gravida tempor porttitor. Nunc nec velit magna, in auctor orci. Curabitur ultrices, ipsum eget dignissim.

That’s longer than most text messages and Facebook updates, and it would take seven tweets to post it. How does it compare to the average email you read? The average article on a website? The average textbook chapter? You read all of those things regularly—websites, textbooks, text messages—and it’s time to start thinking about how much you’re reading, what that means to your life as a reader, and the extent to which it affects your thinking and writing.

Note in your initial writing (and again in the conversation in class and online) whether you are skimming, reading for comprehension, reading for learning, or memorizing the texts you consume; note also how your reading diet changes over the weekend, on breaks, or over the summer. Focus your attention, however, on your average school day, and describe your reading life in terms that make sense to you.

Final question: Can you discuss your reading life without also discussing your writing life? When you write, you also read; when you edit or revisit your writing, you read again. How does that realization change your answer about your reading habits?


61 responses to “Your Reading Life

  1. Darren Daughtry Jr. April 3, 2013 at 10:42 am

    What I like to lead falls into three categories. The first being texts I have to read in school that I hate. The second being texts I have to read for school that I like. The third is texts I read out of my own free will.

    The first group usually involves books, packets, etc I read for English class or science class. Considering I don’t like English class at all and I have an apathy for Science class. It was hell to read To Kill A Mocking Bird, and reading A Tale of Two Cities was just as bad. Things I have to read for science class I’m particularly interested in but sometimes its exciting.

    The second group involves anything I read in social studies class. Text books, packets, first hand accounts, articles I enjoy reading them all and I can remember just about all of them.

    The third group involves novels I read i’m my spare time most of which are nonfiction with the occasional science fiction. Then, there is the occasional article my dad gives me about Afghanistan and Pakistan, or terrorism in general. I can’t explain why i’m interested in this stuff but, I think because that’s what my dad’s job deals with on a daily basis.

    • Ashley Monaco April 8, 2013 at 9:53 am

      I agree I feel like the reading we do can be divided up into categories. The categories I would make for my reading however is slightly different from yours. I would divide my reading up as:
      1) Forced Reading: This reading includes textbooks, hand outs, homework, assignments, in class books, research papers, etc. Unlike your categories where you divided these into two seperate categories,I would just include them into one. I find this type of reading extremly hard to concentrate on outside of school, even if I do find it interesting. I usually do not find any enjoyment in this type of reading and will procrastinate towards reading it to the last minute possible. This reading needs to be analyzed and memorized, maybe it isn’t enjoyable because of all the tasks we have to do while reading?
      2) Educational Reading: This reading is not assigned in class but instead is read for the enjoyment of reading and to learn new things. In this category includes the newspaper, articles found online, and books that aren’t assigned in class. This type of reading is read on your own free will and something is taught from reading this. Although this type of reading may contain the same substance, if not more, than is contained in category 1, this reading is found to be more enjoyable. Maybe this is because we are not forced to read it?
      3) “Junk Reading”: This reading includes twitter, facebook, text messages, etc. I think this is by many considered to be “junk” because nothing is learned from this type of reading. Although on the occassion you read a tweet that has some link to something “educational”, or you find an article on facebook associated with whats going on aroud you, or you receive a text message which contains notes from what was learned in class that day, for majority of the time this reading is meaningless. Nothing is really benefitted from reading this but we read it anyways simply for the enjoyment.
      I find that I personally read more out of category 3 because I find it more enjoyable. Everything is short and no real concentration is needed, it kind of emulates the fast paced society we live in today.

  2. Mike Kubenik April 3, 2013 at 10:42 am

    A majority of my reading is from a single website. This website is covered in people ages 21-35, on average. The articles that come from this site vary depending on where you go on the site. When I browse around in the “TodayILearned” subreddit, I am presented with abrupt sentences – often 30 or so words in each. Now with these 30 words of written fruit, if I find them interesting, I delve into it further and click on the link. This link takes me to an article – often scientific or political. These articles tend to be longer and more in depth. While reading these articles I am interested in, I would assume I read at about 100 words a minute. Not too fast, but not too slow, often re-reading specific key points to develop the idea. I believe that these little bits of facts can come up in any day life and allow myself to speak to wider groups of people about what they’re interested in. Reading is an extension of human communication. Another subreddit is “AdviceAnimals,” the quick, brief humor presented in these burst are often 10 words with no way to go deeper. The reading stops there. Whether you like it or dislike it(Upvote or Downvote on this site) is decided in a matter of seconds rather than minutes. These writings rely on using image macros, a picture background for the text to go over that explains the text even further, often being animals looking a or showing emotions a certain way.

    This is an example of the writings I can read hundreds of in a day. Now you, being an average non-redditor, will not understand this and it will not fill you in any way. You will not enoy this, you will see it as random, but cute. You may upvote or downvote it depending on how you feel. But when we introduce the source of the joke:

    The joke instantly becomes better. This cat in a suit at a table looks like he is deciding something important and means business and when the boat is introduced it creates comedy. It’s funny because you don’t expect it. Cats dont wear suits at a table and they even don’t want to buy boats!
    These quick little segments of reading make up a small, but important part of my reading.

  3. Conor Mitts April 3, 2013 at 11:52 am

    When I think about reading, dread usually comes with it. I’d rather have fun I think to myself this novel will be boring. However when I am able to push my self to pick up a book; I’m more often than not pleasantly surprised. This story that i made assumptions about and dreaded was now simply enticing. I cannot put the book down.

    • Kristen Safford April 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      I completely agree, Conor. Most of the time when I hear that we have to read another book for school I think, “Oh great, just more for me to do.” But especially this year, when reading 1984 I actually enjoyed the book.

      It’s surprising that in a society where everyone is constantly reading status updates, on social sites like Facebook and Twitter, we find it so difficult to sit down and read a book.

  4. Conor Mitts April 3, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Reading long exerts out of a textbook is unbearable to me. The dryness and the boredom is torture. So I end up skimming and hardly retaining anything except the greater meaning; which can be distorted by this process. However there is also reading that we don’t even think about, Don’t even count as reading. Texting, tweeting, things on television. All of which require a form of reading. However it’s so short and we get what we need from it and are done so quickly we don’t even consider it reading. I think this is harmful, has an obvious effect on attention spans and even the way our society thinks and operates. It promotes instant gratification, which is why most kids our generation can’t sit down and read a novel.

  5. Kyle Riccardi April 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    In all honesty, reading is certainly not one of my favorite things to do. As far as having to read long novels for classes and boring passages about history; they are simply distasteful. However, there are numerous places and types of writing that I often find myself reading almost unconsciously. For example, I admit that I am an avid Twitter user. The whole concept of Twitter is based off of reading other users’ thoughts and opinions. “Users” can consist of celebrities, companies, as well as friends and family. It all depends on who and what you are looking to hear from. It may or may not be the most educational form of reading, but it is still a form of reading. Also, my willingness to read depends heavily on the topic associated with the certain type of writing. I am an extreme follower, supporter, and competitor when it comes to sports. When I see an article titled with a name involving sports, I do not hesitate to begin reading almost automatically. The more information I can find out about the “sports world,” the better. I suppose the real question is, are these bad habits to have? Are these topics considered “junk food” reading? My best guess would be that as long as a person is reading, no matter what topic or where it can be found, it can be considered “good reading.”

  6. Colin Cavanagh April 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Admittedly, I don’t read as many books or novels as I used to when I was younger, and consequently, the type of reading that I do has changed over the years. Though I may not spend all of my time reading books anymore, it’s arguable that, with all of the websites (i.e Facebook, Twitter, etc) which I go on everyday, I still spend just as much time reading today as I did in the past, when I did read books more often. When I read things on websites, it often consists of short and simple sentences spaced out, best exemplified by the 150 character count on Twitter. This allows me to view a lot of information in a short period of time, as I can read through several hours worth of tweets in only a few minutes. However, I do believe that the designation of Twitter and Facebook as “junk” reading is correct, as this type of reading is so simple and easy that most people don’t even consider it to be reading, thus, when they are confronted with “real” reading (books,articles), they no longer have the patience nor the stamina to read through the entire thing, and they skim instead of actually processing the information. I have found recently that this has been happening to me, as, when I do read books, whether for school or just for fun, it takes me much longer to read the entire book, and I find that I start to lose interest in the book after only a few pages. Websites have become so omnipresent that it is nearly impossible to avoid them, but I think that they are affecting our reading habits in a bad way, making us so accustomed to an instant-gratification type of reading that anything else seems tedious and boring.

  7. Marissa Milazzo April 3, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    As some of my other classmates have admitted, I also do not read many books. The only way I am motivated to read a novel is if I am personally interested in it, such as the Hunger Games series and the Pretty Little Liars series (yes, I am that “typical teenage girl”). However, in school when I am told to read the first 30 pages of To Kill A Mockingbird by April 4th, then the next 30 by April 14th and so on until the book is finished, I have a hard time following that schedule. I guess the reason for this is because not all, but most of the time, these novels are not very interesting to me therefore I am not motivated to read it. One question this brings to mind is how come in history class, when told to read pages 1-15 in the textbook, it doesn’t bother some of us as much? Perhaps the reason for this is because we are able to skim and understand the “key points” on the specific topics we are going to learn. Whereas in the novels assigned to us in an english class, we need to know the specific details, some that even spark notes will not help us with. What do you guys think?/ Do you find text book reading not as bothersome as reading novels?

  8. Jess Eminizer April 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Pardon the note-like quality of this post. I figured that labeling my categories in such a way was a little more concise than attempting to organize one paragraph with so many different topics.
    A) # of texts a day
    B) # of facebook posts skimmed
    C) # of blog posts a day
    D) When I read articles
    E) When I read books
    F) When I read in school/for school.
    G) On writing
    A) It depends on if one of my friends is feeling particularly talkative or if someone is going through something. If either (or both) of those things are happening, I read probably around 70-150 texts a day, and I read them for comprehension. If it’s a regular day, I generally read for learning (or I skim) about 20-30 text messages.
    B) I’m not sure. It depends a lot on how bored I am. I always skim though, and probably end up skimming an average of 20 posts, not including the instance of outliers.
    C) Sometimes I read people’s blogs or their writing. I read for learning, unless I’m going through a blog that’s predominantly pictures, gifs and brief anecdotes, and then I skim. If I have the time or cannot sleep late at night or am bored or am looking for something, I probably skim past 10 (checking up on a few blogs I like) or 150 (one of those nights where I cannot sleep) posts of various kinds. Reddit is a different but similar story. I check up on a few subreddits every day, many of which included people’s short stories or prompts, and some of which include pictures, and some of which include full articles. As with blogs, it depends on the night and the numbers are quite similar to that of the blogs. (With the low end perhaps being 25 or so instead of 10.) When it concerns people’s writing or subreddits with more serious content, I read for learning.
    D) I read articles from Reddit or news sites, but I skim. It’s been a long time since I have sat down and read an article for comprehension, unless it was important world news or breaking news relevant to me.
    E) When I read books, I do so with a spotty fervor. I cannot just read a few pages at once. I need to read an entire chapter or act, and when I sit down to read (when, though rarely, the time comes) I can read an entire book if given the time. I always read for comprehension, trying as hard as I can to draw everything from the text I can. I read whilst walking through hallways, but I’ve forgotten my book at home lately.
    F) I have a cramming problem when it comes to textbooks. But when I read novels for school, I read them the same way I reads books. I try not to think of it as an assignment.
    G) I read over what I write a lot. Sometimes I skim and gain no knowledge even though I’m trying to edit, and sometimes I’m able to be careful enough to really improve or change something about my work.

    • Liam Lonegan April 6, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      This is really a great job, Jess! Your clarity is awesome and the way your post is structured is exactly how I think, so it was very easy for me to follow along. I wish I saw your post before I submitted mine, or I would’ve been much more thorough with my explanation.

  9. Nick Santamaria April 3, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    I feel like overall kids today read a lot more different pieces of writing than people think. Of course we read lots of emails, texts, tweets, facebook statuses, and ims. These writings include short phrases and simple messages. These are tidbits of information that are in some way, shape or form have a determined significance in our lives. Whether this be determined by our friends, those we follow, pages we ‘like’, or the colleges or businesses we submit our emails to, we receive these small pre-packaged bytes of info that the sender believes have some pertinence to our lives. The usefulness of this reading is limited: what your friend is up to, the results of last nights game, the dates and time of open houses, concerts, or events, sales and coupons on items and so on. However, on our own, students often read more meaningful material than I think most people realize.
    Like many of my classmates will attest too, most kids today do not read many books. Either school has bred some deep-seated hatred for long novels, or our fast paced info-streaming lifestyles have just made these books obsolete. On the other hand, in the constant stream of media that we come into contact to I find myself reading more smaller articles (most under a full page typed) ranging various subjects that I would never dare to pick up a whole book about. I think in our world of fast paced information sharing, the new version of “long-term” reading are the smaller internet articles. Novels take up way too much time to provide, in my opinion, not enough useful information than I could obtain by reading possibly dozens of the smaller articles in the same time frame.
    Maybe its just all a condition of time, I mean thats why kids look for ways to minimize our last category of reading: forced reading for school. Really this is all up to whether the student is interested in the piece, or passing the class. If the reading is ACTUALLY mandatory, meaning if you don’t read this you will fail, then most students will read. However when teachers say its “mandatory”, Sparknotes, Cliffnotes, online textbook chapter summaries, and other cheat sheets for reading become a student’s best friend. Why? The answer could be laziness, but for me it is usually again a matter of time management. Why should I spend an hour reading a textbook, when I can get all the necessary information from it, in only 10 minutes? I feel that although we may read less in volume, we have become more efficient in terms of information received. Do we lose something in not reading novels and full fledged books; sure. However, in today’s educational system the ends justify the means

    • Nick Santamaria April 3, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      Come to think of it, no one will probably read my post for the exact reason I explained within it. Its too long! Irony huh?

      • Catherine Caputo April 4, 2013 at 10:10 am

        Actually, yeah. I skimmed over the first few sentences then scrolled down to see the length, and moved passed it – until I saw this comment, of course. We’re so used to reading either short tweets or posts that anything longer is automatically skipped over.

        • Marissa Milazzo April 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm

          To be honest, I agree Catherine, no offense to you Nick, but I saw the length of this post and skimmed over it up until I saw your comment. Therefore, your post holds a lot of truth Nick.

    • Jess Eminizer April 4, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Hi, Nick. I really enjoyed your post– it’s very eloquent and it gets your point across very clearly and efficiently. Also, I think the way you emphasize that meaning exists in surprising places brings this post and this entire topic to a new level. The idea that texts and other correspondences can effect us/ do touch our daily lives is very interesting. It makes me think about the fact that every tiny thing effects us in the end, since daily events and tiny catalysts kind of form us as people.
      Just to play devil’s advocate for a moment (since I really want to hear your full line of reasoning)… You say that books are not an efficient way to get knowledge, since you could read a bunch of smaller articles and gain the same amount of knowledge, and that books and full-length novels are becoming obsolete. I was just wondering where you think the other value of books fits into the equation– the emotional value. Essentially, my question is: do we sacrifice efficiency for appreciation of a deeper kind, or is that naivety? In this fast-paced, instant-gratification world (that is becoming more so every day), is taking a moment of serenity just entirely counter-productive or is it necessary?

      • Nick Santamaria April 4, 2013 at 7:58 pm

        Well, it is really hard to pinpoint exactly where the emotional/literary value of these novels and books fits into the equation. However I do see the non-informative value of a good book. Yes, Sparknotes can give you the shortest plot summary, analysis of key quotes and other meaning information. But nothing can match getting swept up into a great book. The cadence of the words, flow of the sentences, the beauty of the metaphors and perspectives that have such freshness and clarity as to just amaze you by their mere existence. I have to admit sometimes I read things in novels that I am just fascinated by the way they sound, or the meaning they carry, or just how the author was able to get a message across in some new and fascinating way. One of my favorite excerpts from when I was much younger was the very first paragraph of Jack London’s White Fang ( This all comes down to preference, but we all have those pieces we read over and over, not for the information we take from it, but to hear the words, bask in the wit, rye humor, or detailed beauty of a piece. It begins to sound extremely corny, but when literature can do this to us, it has a deeper meaning than just knowing a plot. Besides lending itself to emulation, these pieces touch us. You can also be sure that excerpts like these aren’t found in an online article, facebook status, or text message. So yes we do sacrifice a lot by reading for information only. Yes, literature is worth our time, but with the crowd who reads it grows small, and those who understand it smaller, and those who appreciate it for its literary merit smallest: Who has time to stop and smell the roses when you have a train to catch?

  10. Janet Austin April 4, 2013 at 10:19 am

    In my life, I do not read books. The only time I will read a book is because I have to for a class. Maybe once in my life someone suggested me a book to read, and i actually ended up reading the whole series. In all honesty, I don’t have time to read. It bores me, and my mind wonders off so I can’t find myself to focus. What I do read is text messages, emails, letters, and my twitter feed. I do have a face-book, but i rarely go on it anymore. In addition to those things I read, I also find time to read magazine articles, and recipes. But that’s about it.

    I find that the more reading is mandatory in schools, the more I will not read it. A few months ago in my APUSH class, each person was given either “The Jungle,” or “How the Other Half Lives.” Both being old books, each of my classmates and I found that we kept holding the book off from reading it. To this, no one ended up reading the book. We all just found on line reviews and used that to speak in class. Of course we all felt guilty going around reading the book. However, it was something no one wanted to read, so I guess that was us trying to find something else to do.

    If we do have to read a book in class, than I wish it could be something like what we did this past semester in AP Language. We are given a few books, and then we have to choice of what to read. This way we can chose from the variety of books that best fits our personality, therefore intrigue us to actually read.

  11. Andrew Genussa April 4, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I read on a daily basis, but most of my reading is online. I mostly skim twitter feeds, but find myself more drawn to pictures on facebook or instagram. Sometimes I’ll be intrigued by something I see on twitter or facebook and then research it. I send and receive text messages on a daily basis, but the pure quantitative number has gone way down because I no longer wish to talk to most the people I used to talk to. I seldom read books for the pure joy of reading. I read books because I have to. Whether it be for school, or self improvement. I read textbook chapters on a weekly basis to complete outlines, or study for a test. I often read aloud because I learn best when I hear things. I think this slows me down as a reader, but it helps me learn the material. I read a lot of self help books, or books on leadership or business mostly because I want to be the best instructor, or teacher that I can be. I like reading books on thought and control, mostly non-fiction because I can apply it to my life. I usually do not enjoy fantasy stories, but there are some exceptions. I like science fiction short stories, but not long drawn out ones. I also liked The Great Gatsby, but I was surprised. Perhaps it was because it paralleled my life so much when I read it. I have waited to read Catcher in the Rye simply because I’ve heard about it, and would rather parallel it to my life when I need it most. I find it hard to read because the meanings I often find when I read are different from the author’s intended meaning. I understand that authors write for a purpose, however I think that the meaning the reader gets is just as important and should not be neglected. Perhaps the meaning is “wrong”, but even so the student should not be told that they are wrong. I think it causes kids to detest reading, and prevents them from truly loving to read.

    I know that we write the way we read. People who are well read tend to be well written and well written. We tend to emulate the styles of the authors we read. When we write we do read, and reread. This realization makes us self conscious of what we read. We should question what we are reading in the same manner as we question the food we put into our body. The cliche “you are what you eat” can be paraphrased as “you are as you read”.

  12. Catherine Caputo April 4, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Besides Dune, that I read over spring break, and a few Sherlock stories, my reading life is composed of whatever Facebook, StumbleUpon, and Reddit have given me. The first will usually consist of little statuses or a conversation, while the rest provide me with either short stories, tidbits of information, or small articles. Most of the time it’s through pictures or video, but with my internet down at home, I’ve found myself seeking out longer novels and stories to pass the time. I’ve discovered that if I get hooked on a book under 400 pages, then I’ll finish it in a day and re-read it over and over until I’ve gotten everything out of it that I can. With one over, even by just 90 pages, I’ll read it in times of absolute boredom, and only go back to ponder over what I didn’t understand at the time. I’m just afraid that once I get my internet back up and running, that I’ll abandon books – once again – for easier media.

  13. Briana Beach April 4, 2013 at 10:40 am

    To be honest, I don’t read as many novels as I did when I was in middle school. I, also, didn’t have an iPhone in middle school. As much as I loathe to admit it, as the amount of text messages I read increase, on average 600 or so a day, the less I am able to focus on literature. Typically a cliche girl, I find myself much more interested in the new high school drama then in a novel. When I do decide to dig in to a novel by my own free will, it usually is a more modern, drama novel. For example, Cut, by Patricia McCormick was a book that I found myself really in to, about a girl who cuts herself and refuses to talk to anyone. Another book was The Outsiders and Fifty Shades of Grey (with discretion). Also, in about three years, I’ve guiltily read more tweets on Twitter altogether then novels in my life time, this I find sad and almost embarrassing. Mandatory novels that my classmates and I have tor read for English class, I usually can get through. Three books I honestly truly enjoyed was To Kill A Mockingbird, A Long Way Gone and Tangerine because although in different periods of time, I found myself wanting to know more, to continue reading to see the outcome. The worst book, in my opinion, that we have read was A Tale Of Two Cities. I could say my vocabulary is limited however I can not focus, for the life of me, to the text when the writing is in old style English. I spend too much time re-reading certain paragraph just to understand what is being said, that I can’t focus enough on the main idea and I find myself bored. This could be because I’m familiar with such shortened text-message texting that I am unfamiliar with proper English.

    • Avery Pan April 4, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      Bri, I think the issue you’re having involving focusing on more in-depth literature is the reason it’s important that schools continue to expose kids to this kind of literature in class. Although this kind of reading can be painful and seem endless in the moment, it’s important to preserve the ability to read and comprehend (and therefore practice) writing that may be different from present-day. Without these sort of assignments in school, language could eventually be lost in it’s entirety.

      • Briana Beach April 5, 2013 at 10:33 am

        Ave, I am in touch with where you are coming from, however, as we grow up we learn more in depth language then we originally knew as an infant (obviously). If reading these books is important in restoring language to avoid it being lost, then why are we taught these words threw our years of school? It seems almost unfair and unnecessary to receive a book that cannot be understood and be told to find the theme, main idea, point of view, figurative language, etc.

  14. Will Kelmenson April 4, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I read mostly online articles, most of which are no more than a few pages in length. I usually read these for either learning or comprehension. I may also occasionally read posts in a forum, which are much shorter in length. I do not usually read books, although I did very often while I was younger. When I was younger, I read books for fun, and books were very fun in comparison to many of the other activities available to me. Then I was introduced to computers and video games, which I immediately found to be far more fun than books. Eventually, I essentially abandoned books altogether, but it was okay with me because they were only a hobby, and I had found superior hobbies to replace them with. I regret this now because it is evident that books can be very valuable, especially with regards to my performance in school. Many academic assessments such as the SAT test skills that can be strengthened greatly through reading; therefore, I could have gained an advantage if I had continued reading.

  15. Kate Andres April 4, 2013 at 11:42 am

    One thing that most people don’t consider reading is when you are watching a movie, show, or anime in another language and you have to read the subtitles. I am re-watching an anime called One Piece and all of the episodes are in Japanese with english subtitles. I think that this helps me out in three ways. The first is being able to wind down after school by watching something that interests me and is funny. The second is that I can read and it keeps me on my toes as a speed reader. And that last and the coolest is that the more subtitles I read the easier I pick up the language. After about three episodes of reading the subtitles I can put on an episode and text someone while listening to what’s going on. So, I am inadvertently learning another language by just reading and listening to something I like.

  16. Jared Hunter April 4, 2013 at 11:46 am

    When I think of my “reading life” it is almost non-existent. Of course when I say this, I mean it in the shape and form of novels, books. For some reason, I don’t find solace nor interest in a story stamped on hundreds of sheets of paper, especially when it is administered in a school setting. If I’m given Of Mice and Men or To Kill a Mockingbird in a class, my mind is already geared toward obnoxious, repetitive questions on diction, rhetoric, tone, factors of that nature. At first I believed that all these analytical ideologies were essential, not saying they aren’t or criticizing the form and art of it, but when I see an author illustrate their affection for blue curtains, I don’t feel it’s a mechanism to express their “undying sorrow” or “bottomless melancholy”; maybe they are just a fan of the color blue.

    Digressed a bit, but when it comes to my reading life as a whole, texts nor social media dominate that aspect of my life either. I would hope that nobody reads every little thing off of twitter (well, depending on the amount of people you follow). Almost all of my reading time goes towards online articles that peak my interest and are generally monumental topics such as Malcolm X speeches, racial crimes/relations, foreign affairs and issues, items of that nature. What it boils down to for my own preference would be the intelligence and consideration taken into account for any piece that is available for reading. But even then, we really can’t escape an “ignorant” or “uninteresting” atmosphere given what we may write on facebook, twitter, etc, whether it be through a simple “like”, “retweet”, or “favorite”.

    My reading is oddly spent on sites like Wikipedia and in dictionaries. Being that I write songs, by nature I look for new ways of conveying a point, whether it be through a punchline or just connecting to something old and modernizing it for a listener. One moment I could be reading about ancient Greek mythology and the next I could be reading about the silent era of film, before “talkies”, ultimately blending these ideas into my own craft or work.

  17. Liam Lonegan April 4, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Since I appreciate the idea of a diet metaphor, I’d like to write in those terms as well. Like many parents/adults, I am a bit embarrassed about the books I “eat”. Or is it “food I read?” Hmm…
    Sadly, I’ve never observed what kind of diet I carried out. My only reminder was to read more, fill my diet but I had never stopped myself to look into what I already had in my diet.
    Yes, like many other students at this point, I have realized I read social media and small updates/posts more often than I originally thought. I judged reading as only being novels and long articles, but now I can see how many calories, my reading diet does hold (if you look at calories as being words, or even characters). I do read more than I suspected, but that doesn’t mean I have developed good habits through all of this reading.
    Moving away from looking at my caloric intake, I’d rather write on the patterns I’ve noticed about this diet of mine. There are two other observations I have formed about my diet and reading habits after reading the post above and discussing with my group. One conclusion looks at my short-term reading, in one sitting. I carry the motivation to read and I sit down to do so. Unless I force myself to consume paragraph after paragraph (not really enjoying at that point), my stomach is full after about 15 minutes. You could think of it as some sort of attention span, but using the diet metaphor, I see it as one meal sitting. This could be caused by the habits I’ve formed. I’ve consumed small amounts of words for years with social media and summarized articles. Looking forward, expanding this “stomach” would be a beneficial exercise.
    My next observation is about long-term patterns, specifically in novel consumption. I love going to the bookstore, I often have a strong craving for a new book. I look around and pick the book that excites me the most. I go home and for a couple weeks, I read this book (I’m a slow reader, by the way) and after a while, I don’t have the strong motivation to finish this “course.” I’m not “full” per say, but other books distract me and I want to start something fresh and new. My old books pass their expiration dates and I look to fresh “food” to satisfy me. My reading life has established these habits, and through this activity I look for tips to become a much more healthy and balanced reader.

  18. Bridget Stapleton April 4, 2013 at 11:58 am

    My day to day reading varies from posts on twitter and facebook, to textbooks and articles, to books, to song lyrics, to reddit posts, and even, if you can say that it counts- captions on instagram.
    Admittedly social media has become a part of my life that is slowly taking over- it started with Facebook and it’s all been downhill from there. Currently I am active on Facebook, Twitter (on which I actually have 3 different accounts), Tumblr, Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and then of course there’s texting and emailing. That is way too many, the walls of text that are being shoved on my face all day, that really I end up shoving in my face all day, have no substance. Yes, every once in awhile there’s a post on Reddit that will teach me something, or Pinterest will teach me how to do something new, or Facebook will help me find out what is going on in the world, but the majority of the time, everything I read on these sites is filed in my mind for a moment and then disappear into space. When I’m on most of these sites, it’s mostly skimming, but I do end up with an embarrassingly vast knowledge of pop culture, so I do retain it. Things like Instagram and Snapchat and Pinterest, and arguably Tumblr are different from the others because they are mostly picture-based, but we can count those captions as reading- although definitely at the bottom of the spectrum of reading for substance.
    So much meaning-less, substanceless text is pushed into us each day that when it comes time for reading for substance at school, or even of our own accord, our attention spans have been shortened and we are bored very easily. To be completely honest I’m writing this right now between writing another paper and texting.
    I’ve heard it said that our generation does not read enough. That’s untrue, we read plenty, it’s just a matter of what we are reading, and how that is affecting the way we look at things. We deliberately choose to spend our time reading and skimming through all this garbage, and not on reputable literature or educational articles. Why? Maybe it’s the availability of technology that’s creating this mind set that is very anti-book. Maybe not. Thoughts?

  19. Olivia Headen April 4, 2013 at 11:59 am

    After reading this post I realized that during the day, I read a lot more than I thought. So when I get home I do not want to read anything and I have no desire to do all the homework I have which includes reading. All day we’re reading tweets, email, handouts, and homework. Due to the fact that this reading reveals itself to me in many different forms it doesn’t feel like “reading.” I associate reading with holding a book or an essay, which I have to read for class. But when I’m on twitter, I don’t say “I’m reading twitter,” I am simply looking at twitter. I believe this is why I do not associate twitter with reading, because I do not have that physical action of holding a book or essay. But now I realize that I read quite a bit throughout the day that I never noticed before.

    • Liam Lonegan April 6, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      There was one part of your post that stuck out to me and was so relatable. “But when I’m on twitter, I don’t say ‘I’m reading twitter,’ I am simply looking at twitter.” I think that hit the nail on the head. The terminology we use makes us think that we read a lot less! When you search “reading” on Google Images, pictures of books pop up as results, not magazines or tweets or Facebook statuses. Great insight there, because I think we all thought that too.

  20. Amanda Rizzotti April 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Unlike many, I find reading to be particularly enjoyable. Nothing is more relaxing then a good book when you are bored or simply can’t fall asleep. However, one thing I have recently noticed, is that the amount I am able to read has drastically decreased over the past few years. I now find that I skim paragraphs, getting the general idea of it, but not necessarily the deeper meaning. It is also more difficult to read large chunks of texts without stopping. I believe social media is to blame for this. I have become accustomed to quickly scanning twitter, scrolling down facebook, ect. These tasks are mindless, almost second nature to us. When I put down my phone for an hour or two, and pick up a book to read, my mind will begin to wander a few chapters in. I wonder what I am missing out on twitter, what new posts there are, how many times I’ve been retweeted. It is devastating that our society has become so dependent on technology that we have trouble going without it for short periods of time.

  21. Danielle O'Brien April 4, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Like many have said before me, I do not enjoy reading that much so therefore I don’t do it that often. My reading life outside of school consists of emails, text messages and Facebook posts. My reading life in school consists of the usual things, textbooks and books assigned to me. The reading we do in school is the reading I like the least. I feel this way because we are told to read “XYZ” or pages blank to blank and since most of the time the reading selected is not by choice it holds little interest. School reading is something I have to do and not something I choose to do and therefore it seems boring and I don’t enjoy it. Reading something I have to causes me to drag my feet as if magically it will go away. I also resent many of the reading assignments because I could be doing more of the reading I like to do outside of school; like reading Facebook posts or even playing a game. However with this said I also feel that when we are told to read a chapter in a textbook and it covers a topic you are interested in it makes the task of reading not so bad. I also like being given the option of reading books I choose because then I can pick a book from the options given which sound interesting to me and therefore make reading more enjoyable. For example last year I was in AP World History and that class really didn’t cover the things I was personally interested in so reading a chapter in that textbook was torturous and very daunting. To make matters worse at the end of each chapter I had to answer a set of questions and define vocabulary words….ugh! This year I am taking AP U.S. History, and U.S. History to me is very interesting so reading two chapters a week and outlining them is much more tolerable……not my favorite thing but definitely tolerable.

  22. Jessica Lau April 4, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    I usually read at least a few things per day, but they are usually things that range from news articles to, more recently, emails and essays. I have to say that I have been leisurely reading less often than I used to. Yes, there are some books that I try to make a point to read at sometime, including 1984, a book I am currently reading because I find it intriguing. However, I find at times that I should make more of an effort to work reading novels and books into my free time activities. Sure, I don’t go onto Facebook or Twitter to read short sentences describing what people are doing and I take the time to read the news, but reading books and novels gives me a different sort of outlet that I need to get back in touch with.

  23. Daniel DePaoli April 5, 2013 at 10:27 am

    As most of you have already said, I rarely read for pleasure. I will occasionally skim a popular novel, but I constantly find the little voice in my head shrieking that age-old cry, “WHERE ARE ALL THE PICTURES!?!” I used to legitimately read, when I was younger and had less to worry about (less homework). However, now I never read books unless they are assigned. This is probably nothing more than an injustice to myself, because I used to seriously enjoy reading. When I read The Percy Jackson series, I was really sucked in and could barely put the book down. Despite this past fascination, I feel that my personal reading “diet,” mirrors the mindset that many people have in regards to working out. You initially don’t want to do it, but then once you are done, you feel pleased with yourself and know that you did the right thing. I have learned to bow down to this mindset with phrases such as, “I seriously have no time to read.” I believed, before this exercise, that the only times that I have to read are directly when I get home (when I’m far too tired), or during my weekends (which consist of games and tournaments). However, upon metacognition of my reading habits, I discovered that Have not only have much more time to read than I once thought, but also that I read far more than I once believed.

    A) Texts: The amount of texts that I read per day, varies vastly. The number could be anywhere from zero to 200 of these “junk food,” short bits of writing.
    B) Blog Posts: I never went onto a blog until the last few years, once I began playing varsity sports. I check the lohud baseball blog two to three times a day and read write-ups and previews of teams before we play against them. I also go on blogs for this class, and will occasionally go to a blog for an answer to a small question.
    C) Magazines/Mail: I only read Sports Illustrated (once a month) and college letters (anywhere from 0-6 a day). I skim the longer articles in the Sports Illustrated unless something really catches my attention, and I skim all college letters. This is only because most of them just ask the receiver to, “take our online e-quiz!” and other tasks of this nature.
    D) Online Documents: I read emails (4-5 a day) and my campus portal when online. I also check my fantasy baseball team everyday, once a day.
    E) Twitter: I go on twitter every night before I go to bed. I read anywhere from 20-40 tweets, But mostly just scan for funny memes.
    F) School assignments: I read all tangible homework assignments fairly carefully. Also, I occasionally read a textbook chapter if I am really confused about a new piece of curriculum.

    I believe that it is impossible to discuss one’s own reading habits without also considering their own writing habits. Even while drafting this post, I found myself saying things like, “I read 20-40 tweets per day and I tweet ____ per day/ write _____ texts per day.” It’s impossible to block our the way that you write, because when reading, we are constantly comparing our writing with that of the author’s. We look for things to emulate, and certain trends that we follow and the author follows. Our internal comparisons make it impossible to completely eradicate thoughts of our own writing.

  24. Autumn Martin April 5, 2013 at 10:40 am

    As we all immediately think of texts when the term reading comes into play, I’d like to remind everyone that there are different types of reading. To read something is to comprehend the meaning of something. That being said, human beings have the ability to comprehend many things. For instance, one may comprehend another’s body language, the time, music, a piece of artwork, etc. So, maybe we can think of reading as a state of mind rather than just the process of understanding a series of words. If one’s mind is open to interpreting their surroundings, then they are allowing themselves to be active reader’s in all aspects of their life. Contrarily, a person who closes their mind to there surroundings will never be able to comprehend anything more than that of which is already inside there heads.

    More closely related to the topic of this blog, I think reading is sometimes a subconscious action. When driving I will oftentimes “read” the signs along the road, but I think I have read these signs so much that I now associate them with their placement or color rather than what they actually say. Maybe for that reason when roadwork is being done, or something of that matter, the signs will be lit up or flash… so that the driver will actually read the sign rather than associate it. I’m sure there are other examples of this type of subliminal reading, but I do consciously as well. More than anything, I think I read text messages. I read these while also reading other texts, like for school or even my own books. I do enjoy reading books for pleasure rather than schoolwork, but if I find the subject interesting I’ll enjoy the schoolwork much more. The reading becomes easier when it is paired with enjoyment.

  25. Rebecca Noce April 5, 2013 at 10:44 am

    When reflecting on this post I realized that I really do enjoy reading. If I had to think back to when the last time was that I read a good book it was actually just over spring break. I love reading books of my own choosing, I find it much more rewarding than watching television or social networking. I enjoy reading books in a series so there is less time spent between picking a new book or series to read, although I do sometimes get more attached to books when Reading a series which is a downside. Admittedly I have read a lot less than I would like it admit as I have grown older unfortunately because school becomes more time consuming, and when you add in factors like sports, clubs, and jobs, your free time becomes more and more scarce. Reading some of the other posts I realize how our generation, to be broad, are not reading at all and I think that what led to this is how we have been somewhat forced to read many texts that we would rather not read.I really dislike how teachers assign books to read because reading should be something everyone enjoys and I feel as if the years of summer reading lists and being told what books to read in school have made reading less appealing than it used to be for many of my peers.For example say for homework I have to read say 5 chapters a book such as The Scarlett Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which is incredibly dense and thick in my opinion, when I get finished reading theres no way I’m going to want to pick up another book. I would be tired of reading by that point. Nonetheless I do like to read books, and magazines, and articles. Though think that on average I “read” much less than my peers because I don’t have a facebook, or a twitter so I’m not as exposed to that whole other world of reading. I don’t mind this though, I think we should all read more, including myself.

  26. Georgia West April 5, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I used to read daily. I devoured novels and narratives like they were necessary to my survival. Books used to be my lifeline, my savior, my confidante. All of this changed, however, when I joined the omnipresent community of social networking. Facebook became an obsession, and the only reading I did was that of “Becky H. likes this” or “John D. is bored.” These snippets of “filler” writing barely provided stimulation for a brain as hungry as mine was, but I continued to subject myself to poor grammar and even poorer thoughts. I finally gave up on Facebook, as I could barely log on without feeling impatient, however I crossed over into a land of something much worse: Twitter. With a 140 character limit, Twitter is the definition of fast food for the brain. Compiled of nothing more than flippant quandaries, it grabs hold and refuses to let go. I now read less than one book every month, and this worries me. At 17, I am consistently shaping my life. I’m sure that everyone can agree that people expect a lot from a near-graduating teenager. Why then, do I find reading every clever thought my friends may have more important than scanning the words of something beneficial to me in the long run? It’s no secret that classic literature is old, and admittedly boring, but it is literature that will define who we are. Twitter and Facebook are great ways of communicating with other people, but reading good, connective literature is the only true way of communicating with yourself.

    • Autumn Martin April 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      Georgia, I especially liked your post because I feel as though it is relevant to every student our age. Specifically, I enjoyed your personification of the brain. It reminded me of how adults who are overworked can succumb to the harsh realities of poor health and diet, while feasting in the fast foods we Americans consider delicacies. This is much like teens who have been overworked with school assignments can succumb to the harsh realities of a “poor reading diet”, while feasting in the fast food of tweets, texts, and statuses. This type of reading acts like an empty calorie providing no benefit to the brain other than a quick dopamine release.

  27. Briana Merritt April 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    When looking at my reading life, I find I don’t seem to fit into the normal categories of a reading diet. As a child I used to love to read. I would constantly be taking books out from my local library and I could finish a book in just one sitting. But as I grew up, reading became something that was forced upon every summer and throughout the school year, and now my love for reading has completely diminshed. I can’t even remember the last time I read a book for just pure enjoyment. While I blame it partly on all of the new technology that has now consumed all of my free time I once spent reading, I also feel like I learned to loathe literature as Prose said in her essay because of what I’ve been forced to read. I used to read books that I could theoretically lose myself in. I mean yes I’d read books that I could relate to, or ones that I as a teenage girl found interesting but I think that’s what anyone would want to read about. Nowadays all of the literature we are forced to read we have no connection with whatsoever so what motivation is there to actually sit down and read it? With available plot summaries and character descriptions at the touch of a button, I feel like less and less students actually have a “reading life” outside the realm of twitter, facebook, websites, and so on. And ever since my parents forced me to take a speed reading course, I’ve found that I now combine skimming, reading for comprehension, and for learning all together. When forced to spend a whole period just quietly reading I fly through essays and articles without really gaining anything from it besides the main idea. I feel like I don’t take anything away from what I read anymore except for maybe learning a few new words. While i can read at the speed of skimming and for the most part comprehend and retain the information read for a significant amount of time, my reading life is in no way as pleasurable as it used to be.

  28. Jessica Lau April 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I think it is possible to talk about my reading life without talking about my writing life. I think I am able to say this because I never do creative writing in my own free time. I only write essays and other things if it is an assignment given to me (ex. for school, for college). I have just read the classification and division essay that I wrote, and it made me realize that the type and style of writing I have was not acquired by the types of books, novels, and journal articles I have read before, but my type and style of writing come from the voice inside my head that tells me to be honest and just write or type things down on paper to convey what I am thinking about a certain topic or theme I am assigned to write about and how I want to address issues and points in my writing.

  29. Kait Donohue April 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    When I think of reading, the word “hassle” comes to mind. However, I realized I read more than I ever thought I did. I may not be reading books everyday, but between classroom handouts, articles, twitter, and more, I’m constantly forced to read. When I say forced, I don’t mean it as though I have a teacher over my shoulder making sure I get my reading done. I mean that reading has become an inevitable action that we all do unconsciously. As we sit in a classroom, we often let our eyes wander. We read posters, we read signs, we read writing on the blackboard. We do not need to assign our mind to do such actions. It just happens once our eyes see words (once you know how to read that is).
    When asked about reading, my initial response was that I hate to read. When assigned pages 1-100 due on Monday for a novel in English class, reading becomes a chore. This example is where my hatred for reading comes from. However, when it is a book of my interest without any due dates or assigned page numbers, I find myself excited to read and to flip each page. As students, and teenagers especially, we almost always hate being told what to do. We strive for independence and for our own voice. The novel we could be reading in school might be a terrific book about a topic of our interest, but once you make it an assignment and put a due date on it, it becomes work instead of enjoyment.
    I find textbooks to be the most difficult text to read because all information presented in a textbook is factual and upfront. In a book, usually a story is being told where you can make your own conclusions. The way the information is displayed is different, along with what the information actually is. Either way, I think reading as an assignment takes away the fun in reading. Although it makes it less fun, it ensures completement. I can admit that if I was told that I should read the pages in this unit’s chapter, but wasn’t assigned pages, I most likely would not read. But if I was assigned the pages and given a date I would feel obligated to read because it’s like any other homework assignment.
    Reading twitter has probably become my greatest downfall. Reading short sentences and incomplete thoughts have become a daily routine for me. Due to twitter, my mind is trained to read fragments. I often find myself struggling when reading a novel to stay focused. My brain isn’t used to long, proactive reading. I think this may be the case with many other Twitter and Facebook users.

  30. William Eckner April 5, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Most all of the reading I do falls under four categories:

    The Newspaper- Every Saturday, I read the New York Times. My family subscribes to the paper so I am able to read the actual paper (This is important because I have difficulty reading anything more than a paragraph when it is online). I spend most of the morning with the paper. I don’t read that many articles because it takes me along time to read them.

    Books- I try to read books as often as possible. I enjoy reading them but, again, the issue is time. During the schools week, I am so exhausted that opening a book and trying to focus for a long stretch of time puts me right to sleep. Because of this, I usually only read books during school breaks or over the summer. Progress is slow, but I am trying to read books considered to be “classics.” I feel like I’d read more if I didn’t watch so many films and TV shows.

    Textbooks- Every week, it seems, I have one or two textbook chapter outlines due for U.S. History class. I take my time with these and each one usually eats up at least five hours (some have taken seven hours). This is perhaps the most careful reading I do. Because I have to write things down, I usually read each sentence at least twice- once as I read the textbook as I would anything else and then again so that I can pick out important facts to write down. The process is grueling, but I do learn a lot by doing chapter outlines.

    School Handouts- This category doesn’t occupy much of my time, but it is still worth noting. Most of the handouts are from English class and, while it doesn’t take long to read them, I do spend a significant amount of time analyzing them. I would include Mr. Eure’s website in his category as well.

    Also worth mentioning is what’s not on this list- texts, tweets and Facebook. I have a Facebook, but I never go on. I don’t have a twitter and I haven’t sent a text message in over a year.
    Another thing that affects my “reading life” is the fact that I read very slowly. I never skim and never read quickly. I make sure I understand every sentence. When I find that I’m “reading” but not remembering as much as I would like, I re-read, sometimes whole pages.

  31. LIndsey Ragan April 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Over the years I have become conspicuously aware of many realities of reading. I have learned that reading has an ever-present existence in our society. Over generations its form and disguise has altered and distorted, and yes some forms are generally more welcomed than others, but the habits and necessities of reading are ultimately incessant. I have realized that reading is something that requires an active filter and mind, a thirst, a motivation of some sort. With the lack of interest in a piece immediately comes the inability to understand, analyze, and build off of that piece. And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, I have come to recognize the fact that our reading habits directly reflect those of our writing, despite contrary arguments or refusal to believe such concepts.
    My reading habits have never been consistent. It’s not unusual that I read three books in the matter of three months and then none at all within the next three or four months. My reading habits come and go in phases and noticeably fluctuating patterns. I have, however, noticed the effect of such inconsistency. During times where I am devouring numerous novels, for example, I notice myself picking up on different writing techniques and strategies the author utilizes. I have found myself emulating certain authors when writing pieces of my own often times in the past. Likewise, when periods of time go by where I fail to pick up a novel or seem to focus my reading skills solely on alternate sources such as Facebook or texting, I have felt particularly uninspired or less knowledgeable when it came time to write in school for an assignment, test, etc. In other words, as questionable as the actuality of it may sound, my reading patterns have historically had a direct correlation to those of my writing.

    • Autumn Martin April 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      Linds, I found your post quite intuitive in the matter of reading. Life is unpredictable, and it is full of changes in outlook and motivation. Much like the umbrella term of life, one’ s “reading life” can be unpredictable as well. You displayed this understanding clearly as you stated that you read in fluctuating patterns. I find myself also subjected to intermittent reading patterns, and before you mentioned it, I never realized how much my level of reading activity can directly correlate to my writing techniques.

  32. Gabriella Maresca April 6, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    At some point in our lives, I believe we fall in love with stories. Whether it’s listening, telling or reading, people become enamoured with simple sentences, put together to create an idea that connects you to each other or someone else. I think my love for reading books and articles was found when I saw that stories could express the way people felt, sometimes better than when we speak. I find reading as an escape, a chance to move away from reality and into something your mind can run with. Each story makes each person feel differently, we each take something differently out of it. Currently, my “reading life” fluctuates. Depending on my work-load and my schedule, reading becomes difficult as I find that studying takes the place of reading. Before the craziness, my “reading life” could be described as obsessive. I could easily finish a 300 to 400 page book in one sitting as long as a I had a comfortable pillow and a box of cheerios. Finishing about four books a month was normal, and I gained something from each one. I wish I could say that I was still like that, but my reading life is much more simplified these days. Almost every Sunday morning, my mom makes a beautiful breakfast. While we eat, the two of us read the Sunday newspaper and talk about the most interesting things we found. If theres something we liked, we swap articles until we read the best ones. Reading the articles is the most healthy reading I do, besides some of the reading I receive from school and online. Otherwise, I consider the rest junk or unhealthy reading. I still have my facebook, so I check it maybe once a day, twice if I’m bored. I deleted my twitter as I found it a monumental waste of time. The rest of the reading comes from stories or articles online when I check my email or my texts. Texting is an awful addiction, but I’ve slowly but successfully moved myself away from my phone. I’m proud to say I’m no longer attached to my phone.
    When I see the majority of the people around me on their phones 24/7, I realize that they must be reading something, whether its a few words or paragraphs. But this “junk reading” shouldn’t be considered reading at all. Reading our twitter feeds or texts doesn’t develop our minds. We are reading fragments of words and half thought out ideas. Does this really help our reading and writing skills? Not at all. We are simply teaching ourselves bad habits. These new technologies that have become our addictions are only harming us.

  33. Ally Ferraro April 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    As many of my classmates would agree with, I do not read “books” as much as I should do so. The quotation marks of books generates an exaggeration on the point that reading does not only associate with an actual book, but also the glances and skimming of Facebook or twitter posts, texts, or even just reading directions on an assignment in school. My reading life has narrowed down to reading 100s of texts a day, skimming through tweets to find out what people are up to, or even just reading the directions for a blog post. Sadly, from the eight hours of school and after the few hours of sports you can imagine how drained a person can be. My free time would just consist of laying down regaining my energy, texting my friends to catch up, or even just sitting down reading tweets to get a good laugh. Eight of school causes stress; it is over whelming and tiring. To relax my brain I engage my body in physical activity to relieve stress and take my mind off of my academics. Reading to some people may be relaxing but after sitting in a classroom all day I’m itching to move around. Although I do not read all the time, if I receive an assignment to read a book on a certain date I would devote my time to complete it.
    Now let’s be honest when you see blog posts you immediately go to the one that has the fewest words or the shortest length. I believe our generation is increasingly getting lazier and lazier with reading long passages. Skimming has been a key tool to reading faster and gaining some information however, has not been a resourceful tool in gaining all the information or meaning fully. Therefore, everyday my reading life has consisted of reading the simplest of things from reading a short passage to reading a nutrition label or getting texts from my friends; everyday every one reads.

  34. Ashley Monaco April 7, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    I read a lot more now than I did when I was younger. Prior to required reading in school, I would go through book after book every week, but outside of reading my selection of novels (which usually pertained to the same type of subject i.e the Harry Potter series) and the few handouts given in class, I scarcely read as much as I do currently. What I mean by, “Prior to required reading in school….” includes novels given to read as assignments, textbooks, handouts, research papers, etc. After this material started to be given out in class, the amount of books I would read independently steadily decreased. Occasionally I will pick up a novel not associated to school, but it is a rare occassion. This may be because of the lack of time in a day to sit down and read a book or maybe because reading is no longer enjoyable after learning in english class about how to analyze every piece of syntax and diction and figurative language that can be found in each chapter! Or maybe it just emulates our fast paced society, I mean why read a book when you can get the same information off of Wikipedia. But although the amount of books I have read decreased this does not correlate at all to the amount of reading I actually do. From school work, to the news paper, to what may be considered “junk reading” such as twitter or texts, to the ads we are constantly bombarded with, when are we not reading? Does the type of reading we do effect us at all? Twitter, Facebook, text messages, adults consider to be “junk”, but maybe that’s because its not what they grew up with, is it just because they are not accustomed to it or is it actual “junk”?

  35. Joseph Oliveri April 7, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    My reading habits can be described on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the closest, or most thoroughly I read through something, usually re-reading things, and one being the complete opposite.
    School Items
    Handouts-Variable, depending on the importance of the handout. Things imperative to know/material/immediate class work I’m currently working on I’ll be tested on falls under an 8 to a 10.
    My own handwriting -Formally submitted works- 7 or 8, unless I legitimately “proofread” it, in which case the rating increases to a 9 or 10, as of recently, I have been making a habit of doing this more.
    Books (Both in & outside of school)- independent- I’m an avid reader, when I have the time, and usually treat recreational reading with a 9 or 10. However, many factors can lower the rating: the environment I’m reading in (noise, distractions), what’s on my mind… or, If I sincerely don’t relish a certain part of a book, (I’m rarely driven to this extreme, I rarely engage in “skimming” when reading for fun.)
    dasistkomitch posts- Usually thorough reading, but if it’s something I feel Mr. Eure has already made clear, it may be around a 6 or 7.
    Not in School –
    Internet News- Depending how much a topic or article actually interests me, I may read extremely closely (9 to 10) just barely skim to get a very general idea. Sometimes, something I will look into a news story I’ve only vaguely heard about just to know the basic facts, and neglect an article’s lengthy insight for the jist of the issue or event being discussed.
    Miscellaneous research- My internet usage includes the aforementioned news, and a few other sites for entertainment, like, where I browse trending threads and posts. This reading also generally depends on how much I’m interested in them. If I’m just bored,

    • Chris Smith April 8, 2013 at 10:37 am

      I noticed that you described mostly topics that you were an avid reader of. Do you keep track of local news? What about the weather? What about politics? Do you spend a lot of time on Facebook? Surely you must simply skim or miss SOME small piece of writing. I know I almost never check social networks or whats occurring in politics whenever I’m presented with information relating to the two. Do you remember the last thing you read on Facebook?

  36. Ellen Urvater April 8, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I find that when I was younger, I would read a lot more than I do now. I used to read for fun or on my own time. Now when I read its mostly for school. When you are forced to read a book it is less enjoyable because it is usually something you have no interest in. It is also difficult to find time to read. Dealing with all of your classes before and after school, you feel like you never have anytime to do anything. I feel like if I did have more time to read, I would enjoy doing it for often on my own time. When I am able to find a book that I actually like and read it, it is hard to put down. I read the whole book in a week or so. Reading can also be very relaxing and lets you escape the world for a little bit. The most that I find myself reading are for doing projects for school from articles online. Reading online can be challenging because of all the ads distracting you. Instead of reading the article, you skim over it

  37. Victoria Simpri April 8, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I read a lot more when I was younger than I do now. In class my group and I made a list of books we read when we were younger and a list of books we had read in high school. Obviously the list of books we read when we were younger was longer than the list of books we read in high school because, our childhood is longer than the amount of years we’ve been in high school. This may be because in high school a lot more is expected from us so we have less time to ourselves. We get a lot more homework that is mainly busy work because we either know how to do the work or not. We are encouraged to participate in after extra curricular activities such as sports and clubs and may not get home till later in the day and at that point the last thing on our minds is reading. I loved to read and I still do but rather than reading I find myself skimming posts and statuses about peoples lives and articles about celebrities of whom I could care less about. My reading life has diminished for many reasons.

  38. Chris Smith April 8, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I believe that I read much less than the average person in America tends to. I rarely go on Facebook, Twitter, or social sites or contact other people via text message. However,I do occasionally take the time to read other people’s posts on this website and on Google drive. I may not always have the most educated responses (aka Sara Lavelle’s essay) but I’m always willing to read information and take the time to learn from my mistakes and give others y opinion on what they can improve upon. I haven’t read any books outside of school (aka unassigned reading) since C.V.Starr, and I don’t feel bad about it. School has taught me to find symbolism in everything, and I don’t want to. I also have less free time than when I was in C.V.Starr, and so I’ve decided to use that time to do homework and get extra-curricular activities done, rather than simply waste my time on leisure activities. But I know that I do read a decent amount every day, such as social studies notes, java codes, and numbers in math. I have a much more detailed opinion on google drive if anyone wants to see it; just ask.

  39. Jack Kelly April 8, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Not going to lie, I don’t like reading. It was never something that I got into, I wish I had because I realize that reading is something that can really help you expand your knowledge and imagination. When I was younger or even recently, when I sat down to read a book for a report or just for leisure, it was mostly non-fiction. I was never a fan of fiction books, and I always found that strange. I loved the Harry Potter movies, but loathed the books. I tended to read history, current events and biographies, I thought maybe this was because I didn’t to make up what the character’s faces looked like in my head because they already exist. I still read just not as much in book form, mostly via twitter, online articles, texting, and, at times the newspaper. However, sometimes I figure Why should I read a three page article, when a newscaster can tell me the exact same thing in a shorter amount of time? Because quite frankly I am a slow reader especially when I read for comprehension, which is what I try to do all the time. My reading life is strange, somewhat love/hate but it is obviously something that really benefits the intellectual well-being of a person.

  40. Eiman Khan April 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    As many of my peers have said before, I too use to be an avid reader as a child. I never found myself worrying about anything while my head was burried in one of my Nancy Drew books. But as I grew older and the homework grew lengthier, I found myself using school as an excuse for not reading. When it came time to read books for class, I would either read and completely understand the book or read the book then spend more time trying to understand what I read with the help of Sparknotes. To say school is the reason I do not read as much as I use to is inaccurate, but its definitely one of the reasons. When I was assigned to read A Tale of Two Cities last year I was ecstatic because my mom had told me how great of a novel it was. Less than a chapter in and I was completely lost. The language used in the book and the web of characters made it so difficult to enjoy better yet fully understand it. I am not saying I think we should read simpler books, but we are simply expected to know how to interpret the author’s style instantly. Suffice to say I invested in the Sparknotes book to ease my pain. As for leisurely reading, I was lucky enough to find two books which I couldn’t put down;both of which were by John Green. I would have the moments when I had the urge to just sit down and read but I reminded myself that I had no time to. Horrible excuse, I know. Between the endless amount of homework and the semi-weekly exams ; who has the time? Whenever I’m reading I constantly think of what else I could be doing.

  41. Natalie Jara April 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Especially during this year, I haven’t read as much literature in a form of a book as much as in previous years. I’ve lost the attention span I had, to read longer literature this year because of all the shorted readings and the internet articles that seem more appealing than sitting for hours reading one book. I love to read books, but I found myself making excuses to not read them and to avoid just sitting in a spot reading for a long time. Especially with the internet being right there next to me all the time, I usually read more articles and blogs online than physical literature. Whenever I check my personal email, which can be a few times in a day, I look at the articles they have on the home screen and start pulling them up on a new page. I read them and see an article at the bottom that says “see what others have read”. It grabs my attention because the creators of the webpage make the articles seem appealing with the bold titles and since they’re only a page, I know it won’t take me forever to read it. Also, reading my email has become a huge part of my reading life between the college emails, personal emails, school club emails, teacher emails, I read emails more often in a day since they are broken up into small portions. These shortened stories are what my reading habits are mostly consisted of along with texts, packets given to me at school and textbook reading. Another form of reading that I don’t think I realize is “reading” are reading the texts I get. I’m not always texting on my phone but it happens often enough that it counts as a larger fraction of my reading life than others. Whenever I have a conversation through text with a really good friend of mine, the texts fill up my phone screen and sometimes I would have to send multiple texts to say everything I want in one response and visa versa. I would read the similarly long response to my response from that person and it would keep going from there. Reading my APUSH history textbook to write an outline is the most extensive reading I do throughout the year because it requires me to read each sentence careful to catch the important details and dates that are important in history. I know that doing a chapter outline well and detailed oriented will help me with the tests and quizzes later on so I pay close attention while doing them. The same applies to reading articles in packets for a class. Since it’s about a topic that we’re discussing in class, I read it closely and try to absorb the content of it. On the other hand, I could be reading it with more precision because I know it’s shorter in length and its usually between 2-7 pages. After thinking about my reading life, I question if this is a bad thing; reading more but in small doses. Is it going to hurt my critical thinking skills? Will I be able to read and finish a full book in a few years? (especially with technology advancing at this pace) Does this mean that I’m falling into the technology era of today?How will the different types of reading change if it’s changed so much in just this one year?

  42. Joe Serrecchia April 8, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    It really does take a lot to get me to read a book or anything in depth. I was never one of those kids that enjoyed reading as a hobby. Never got into it. Just like everyone else already said, most of the things I read now a days are on Social Networking cites. This could be the cause of my terrible grammar. Seeing everything repeated without proper grammar has rubbed off into my own writing. This is why I have to use the grammar check on Word for every piece of work I hand in. And honestly, most of the books I’ve read over the years have been assigned to me through school. I never really enjoyed it but, I had to read the books in order to succeed. This quarter was the first time I actually enjoyed what I read because it pertained to my life. Not directly, but to events that every single person in this class had witnessed and grown through. 9/11. This made me realize I read more than I thought since i read a lot of news articles online or in the paper. All in all if everyone thinks of everything thinks of everything they read from text messages to Social Networking, we all read more than a novel a week.

  43. Melanie Davis April 9, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Reading takes up a huge chunk of my life. As I look at my surroundings, I realize how much there is to read. I not only read posters or signs around the room, I read books of my choice that vary in length. I definitely enjoy reading because it helps me expand my vocabulary and it also makes my imagination wonder. A lot of the things I read in school are packets or textbook work, all of which were not very interesting to me until the past couple months. I realized that I should think freely while reading so I can get different views on the topics.
    I have always read things. When I was 4 or 5, my mom and I would go to the library by our old house and pick random children’s books to read to one another. I realize now that this definitely helped my desire to read grow and helped expand my interests in reading. I always loved reading, as long as its of my interest. Other than that, most school assignments were never pleasing to me, but I opened up to new things and began expanding my interests.

  44. Kristen Safford April 9, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    I never really understood how some people can just pick up a book and read it for fun, or to relax. To me reading was never a relaxing activity. I would rather just listen to music or go do yoga. Part of this is probably just because of the way I was raised. Part of it may be by the time I get home I’ve read so much in school that I don’t want to deal with it anymore. Either way I have to push myself to read books for school, although, when I finally do read a book a generally enjoy them.

    The typical ‘reading’ I do outside of school:
    -Scrolling through Facebook
    -Texting my friends
    -Researching the science behind new ‘fad’ diets/exercises (This is probably the most educational reading I do outside of school but it is a major interest of mine so it doesn’t feel like work to me and it keeps me intrigued)

    I believe that it is a mixture of all of these things that make it hard for me to pick up a random book and start reading. Typically there aren’t many books that directly spark my interests except for the few about how certain actions affect your body(i.e. lack of sleep, different diets, or different forms of exercise). I also can’t ‘scroll’ through a book. When we are on social sites we typically aren’t reading for any deeper meaning, we typically aren’t even reading the posts, just mindlessly looking at what people felt like sharing at the moment. This makes it harder for us to switch back to reading for deeper meaning.

    As I’ve grown older, I’ve actually found it easier to force myself to read books because I’ve been able to find ways to pick out little things in all different types of books that keep my attention. But the word ‘force’ is still there. I think that unless reading is something you really care about, or enjoy, it is never going to be something that you will do just for the heck of it, especially as we go into this very busy time of our lives, between worrying about which colleges we want to apply to, and taking the SATs along with all of our other finals/APs. I think we should all try to read more because it can open you up to a whole new world. I know, personally, it is also really gratifying to finish a good book. It is something that you set out to do, and you finished it which is a great feeling.

  45. Joey Blasco April 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Whenever I read, nearly all of it consists of reading for comprehension. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that I prefer informational articles (such as Cracked with its bit of twisted humor) for its content and understanding rather than literature. The only times I would ever pick up a book (thanks to the internet) are textbooks for schoolwork or books required to be read for a certain class (such as literature and novels). Because of this, I find myself often skimming such texts only for short memorization to be then quickly regurgitated for an assignment or activity and then quickly forgotten. This skimming also applies to many of the comments and threads I read/reply to on Reddit usually for a quick, cheap, and easy laugh that I forget less than ten minutes later after reading it, with few exceptions of the blocks of text and words some insightful users have written. Therefore, my “diet” in this analogy could use some variety of other types of reading, but I tend to value informational texts over literature.

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