- August 16, 2021
- Posted by: Kathleen Shepherd
- Category: News
Imagination is so important! Personally, I think that it’s something we tend to take advantage of in today’s world of advanced technology. When our minds are constantly consumed by Instagram and TikTok, we leave ourselves little time to get lost in the depths of our own imaginations. Studies have shown time and time again that an active imagination has positive benefits on mental health. Yet, it seems that so often in the world today, we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to really take the time to put our imaginations to work. The world of education often pressures students to meet standardized benchmarks, sending clear messages that all learners should think the same. And unfortunately, these pressures are becoming present in the lives of students at a younger age with each passing day. Add the ever present force of phones, ipads, and tablets into the mix, and the time that kids have to actually use their imagination becomes quite limited.
In my opinion, I think that one of reading’s greatest powers is the way that it enables- and in a sense, requires us- to activate our imaginations. When we read for pleasure, our minds make the story what it is. We create a vision for the characters, the plot, the possibilities of what the storyline could hold. Our imaginations hold the power in making a story the magnificent and magical piece of work that it is. It’s really quite remarkable.
Unfortunately, the pressures of standardization have tried to strip reading of its amazing ability to enact our imaginations. In school, reading becomes something that is taught as a skill for academic achievement. We’re taught to comprehend and use context clues, to decode, and of course, to “sound it out” when we stumble upon a tricky word. But are we ever taught to read for the pure purposes of imagination? It seems that reading’s most magnificent aspects often go unnoticed when the practice becomes solely for purposes of academic achievement and success- rather than pure joy, growth, learning and relaxation.
The truth is, reading isn’t something that has to be preached to kids as “fun” to get them to read for pleasure. Reading simply is fun. Using your imagination to visualize a story is fun. Enacting the power of your brain to imagine how a story may end is in fact fun. We just live in a world that doesn’t teach it to be that way.
So let’s change that. Let’s work together, as a community, to change the way we think about reading.
This is what Book Summer is all about. Changing the way we understand, talk about, teach, and value reading. Reevaluating the real purposes and true benefits that can come from reading for pleasure. Supporting young readers in their journey of coming to their own unique understanding of the importance of reading for pleasure and enacting the limitless potential of their imaginations. Showing kids the power of bonds that can lie within reading communities. Empowering the leaders of tomorrow to activate their imaginations, to think outside the box, and to allow their minds to be inspired by the power that lies within reading for pure joy. When we activate our imaginations, the sky is the limit. And in a world where this seems sometimes impossible to do, maybe reading for pleasure- and allowing our minds to reach their full potential- is the perfect way to start.