Reading In 2021

Are students still reading during this chaotic time?

Most students learn in elementary school that March is reading month and continue the tradition even in college. Photo by: Dylan Bowden | Torch Photographer

Moving deeper into the digital age where social media consumes our everyday lives, messaging has become instantaneous and news is absorbed in seconds, one has to wonder, is reading going out of style?

Taking time out of one’s day to read an article from top to bottom, or a book from front to back, seems like a tedious task as the world keeps moving and there is no end to the amount of work received.

Students, in particular, are given a lot to juggle in one day hoping to complete it all to earn a degree. However, are they as eager to pick up a book and read stories that take them away from their busy lives as they are for their degree?

At FLITE the number of books physically checked out has gone down drastically from 2,048 books in the 2019-2020 school year to 297 books in this current school year. Sections these books have been pulled from have been for academic use, such as history, technology, social sciences and medicine, not books to be read for pleasure.

Librarian Frances Rosen said there has not been a lot of circulation happening, as one might imagine with restrictions that have taken place at the library.

Looking only at numbers from the library, one might assume students’ interest in reading has gone down, however that is not the case for everyone.

Mechanical engineering major Damion Ball said he is eager to read a few fantasy series he owns on hard copy and on his kindle as they help him escape from the stresses of school.

“I’m reading a series called ‘The Summoner’, I have that one on hardcover,” Ball said “ But I’m reading more on my kindle because there is more variety without having to go to the library or search online for books.”

Ball said having a kindle is much more convenient than going to an actual bookstore because the stories are right at his fingertips, he doesn’t have to worry about the condition the book is in and he is given recommendations constantly for other stories based on his interests.

As it turns out, it’s not a question of if students are wanting to read, it’s more of a question as to how they want to read. More students are reaching for their tablets and electronics to read out of convenience and how fast they are able to find their next book that suits their interest.

Especially now, reading for students has become a new outlet for them to escape from their work, mentally relax and enjoy a story they won’t later have to take a test on.

Architecture major Janette Woodbridge is one student who has continuously been reading since the beginning of school, saying she has more time to read. It’s become more exciting to read and it takes away the worries of COVID-19.

“I am reading more now,” Woodbridge said “I try to read a few chapters before I go to sleep, typically reading adventure books. It in general helps me get out of my head.”

With March the reading month upon us, we are encouraged to read more this month and celebrate the incredible stories we have grown up with and the stories that have shaped society.

Reading can broaden students horizons, take them to new places, let them escape from the stresses of their everyday lives and who couldn’t use a good distraction.