Digital Story

Teens and Reading

As children grow into teenagers, they face more and more demands on their time.  This can involve extracurricular activities but also family responsibilities, jobs, and especially homework.  During this time, the frequency and difficulty of assigned readings tend to increase.  While this is important for educational purposes, it can also have an unfortunate side effect: many teenagers often stop reading and writing for fun. 

My Own Experience

Despite loving books, I can track this trend in my own life.  In elementary school, I devoured entire series, such as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and A Series of Unfortunate Events.  In middle school, I still occasionally found time to read for fun.  In high school, that time became rare.  Throughout college, I have had to specifically set aside time if I wanted to read for pleasure.

Unfortunately, reading has always been one of my favorite activities and best stress-relievers.  Without it, I missed getting to learn new stories and escape to new worlds.  In high school though, I found a new way to keep my passion for books alive: writing.  During my sophomore year, I began writing my debut novel, The White Dove.  Although I was often too tired to read more after completing my homework, I took pride in my ability to create something new.  In the microdocumentary below, Writing Free, I discuss my experiences with writing and self-publishing my own young adult book series, beginning with The White Dove.  Throughout this journey, writing became not only a fun way to express myself, but also a way to deal with the stresses of everyday life. 

Benefits of Books

As both a reader and a writer, books have given me a key way to relieve stress.  However, this is only one of the benefits of books.  Reading and creative writing can also provide powerful tools for learning, building empathy, catharsis, and fun.

Books and the Coronavirus

The benefits associated with reading and writing are especially important during the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused many teenagers to feel stressed and isolated.  During this time, depression rates have increased dramatically among teenagers, especially those who have experienced a coronavirus infection in their family.  While depression is very serious and cannot always be helped by one simple thing, books can help relieve stress for many people.  Through reading, people can connect and share experiences with others who are reading the same stories.  Through writing, people can express their thoughts and emotions in a healthy way.  Through either, people can use their creativity, explore new worlds, and escape the pressures of their daily lives.   

Final Thoughts

Books provide a unique way of learning about and experiencing the world.  Through my series, I hope to not only express my own ideas and emotions, but encourage young adults to read stories that uplift and inspire them.  Although reading and writing are standard aspects of schoolwork, they can also be essential sources of fun and relief.