Decline in Reading due to Teens Busy Schedules


Molly Bomar, Journalist

High schools supply rigorous academic opportunities to assist teens in preparing for colleges, like dual-enrollment courses and Advanced Placement classes. Universities and families also encourage sports and involvement in clubs to enrich students’ overall character. 


These societal demands lead to less free time students used to fill with personal enhancement activities, like reading for pleasure. This included a multitude of advantages, such as expansion in vocabulary, in worldwide views, and in analytical understanding for the greater good. 


High school students do not have the time to read for pleasure due to the overconsuming academic courses schools require and the societal emphasis on extracurricular activities, causing a detrimental decline in mental health and continuous educational improvements.


Society has made it abundantly clear extracurriculars within and outside of school grounds are extremely important and by contributing to school spirit and communities, there are higher chances of being accepted into students’ dream colleges. Highschoolers feel pressure to have their schedules bursting at the seams because colleges have become so competitive. 


Even in advanced classes, honor-roll students often do not have the time to complete the homework and they come to class unprepared. 


According to William Hurst from Insider Higher ED, some of his best and brightest students were “showing up to class without having done the reading”, claiming their commitments outside of the classroom cut down their time for educational readings. 


If these A+ students are spreading themselves too thin with extracurriculars and do not have time to complete the classwork, then the amount of time for themselves, or reading for fun nonetheless, would be slim to none. 


As a qualified applicant of NHS at Mountain Ridge, I enroll in advanced classes, aim for a 4.0, and contribute to school spirit by participating on the school’s volleyball team. While a satisfactory candidate for some colleges, my personal time has decreased substantially. I no longer read before bed as my brain is tired, my head is foggy, and my eyelids are slowly dropping.  


Reading now sets back students’ schedules where they could be providing service to schools and communities to enhance their resumes for future educational careers.


Some might claim schoolwork and free reading serve the same purposes, teaching children and improving their futures. However a decline in overall reading is caused by schools’ use of technology causes students to read less and stare at screens more. The current use of iPads and SmartBoards in classrooms nationwide and in the Deer Valley School District is evident as to prevent the transfer of germs from the CoronaVirus. Due to these health regulations students commonly utilize PDFs rather than taking time to sit down with a hardcover book. 


The Conversation argues reading books at home and in the classroom is a serious enhancement when it comes to critical thinking and being worldly informed with topical issues. As students read, we learn more about the previous endeavors of significant figures who are often not taught in history classes. 


According to the UK Times, “classic works of literature by William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and other great writers can boost your brain and relieve depression.” It is important to note many teens suffer from depression which could be alleviated from reading a novel or two. But without the time to, many students drown in a sea of academic failures and poor mental health. 


In the New York Times, David Denby writes on how reading for pleasure has decreased because highschoolers now divide reading into “duty” and “gratification,” essentially comparing the same processes through classifying only one as positive. While this is far from the truth, these invisible barriers block out crucial educational information and creates a stigmatized reading environment. 


During the enjoyable pastime, one’s vocabulary is improving and world-understanding is growing.  It is incredibly beneficial for highschoolers to take the time out of their day to read to ensure a positive headspace and improve interpretive thinking outside the fours walls of the classroom.