Read Between the Lines

All throughout the English classrooms at the high school, students can be found nose-deep in a book.


Kyra Namanny

Seniors Hana Holtz and Belle Wickman read novels in Contemporary Literature. The goal for the class is to read seven books before the semester ends. The teacher, Emma Bireline, believes anyone can learn to be a reader.

Ariel Clark, Editor

Reading is a skill required by teachers and considered to be an important aspect of any classroom. It’s emphasized and required in order to further one’s education in many fields. The practice of reading doesn’t only correlate to education, though. Reading has many benefits outside learning word problems and writing essays. According to Capcana, picking up and reading a book can improve vocabulary, knowledge of various things, improve focus, and increase memory. Relaxing students and giving them peace of mind to escape into another reality for a short while. This traveling entertainment can help improve a student’s capabilities and help keep their minds active outside of school.  

English teacher Randall Simpson believes reading can help improve a student’s vocabulary, communication, and creativity. Simpson dedicates his entire Wednesday class period to reading. This time was set aside by the students themselves, who decided they should spend one period a week reading instead of just spanning it out over the days. Wednesday was chosen due to its shorter length. When recommending books to students seeking advice, Simpson tries to expand the student’s reading tastes at the same time. “I take what I know about the students, and I also try to give them novels that are a little bit outside of their comfort zone,” he said.

English teacher Emma Bireline also has time dedicated for students to read. One of her extracurricular classes is Contemporary Literature, which is devoted to reading time for students. Members of the class will still have to complete seven book projects revolving around books of their choice. Bireline also believes reading is a crucial part of developing a student’s mind. She believes students gain higher empathy through reading. “We can’t really live in people’s shoes,” she said. Just two years ago, students had an obsession with the murder mystery genre books in Bireline’s library. This year, however, has seen a large increase in students picking up LGBTQ+ and more coming of age books. When recommending books to others, Bireline believes you must know the person at a personal level in order to better gauge what books they would like. She claims it to be a “trial and error” system in some cases, where she has to rule out similar books if a student doesn’t like something.

Freshman Katie Birge is an avid reader. This wasn’t always the case. “I actually wasn’t a big reader when I was younger,” she said. Birge had a change of heart around sixth grade when her reading teacher started to push her into reading. “I had a really good reading teacher who convinced me to read.” Her favorite genres include romance and drama, since it’s “kind of fun to experience different things.” Birge said, “Reading opens your mind to different ideas.” Birge believes students struggling to pick up a book and read should try out a few different genres that sound interesting. “I know since I didn’t like reading at first, I just wouldn’t do it because I was terrible at it.” Finally, Birge  commented on how this pastime has affected her in more ways than one. “During school, I’m not on my phone. I’m reading a whole lot.”