‘South Reads’ promotes independent reading

Kaitlyn Jiang, asst. news editor

Sophomore Boden Williams goes everywhere with a book. During his down time in class, while everyone picks up their phones and starts scrolling through social media, he engrosses himself in various worlds of fiction, reading books from classical to nonfiction.

“[Reading is] my biggest hobby,” Williams said. “I’m always reading. It’s hard to read sometimes because of school, but you have to push yourself to do it. A lot of people say they don’t have time, but it’s a lie; just bring your book instead of going on your phone.”

To promote independent reading, South hosts South Reads, a voluntary summer reading program which allows students to choose a book from a list of ten books pre-selected by the Summer Reading Student Committee. Over the summer, program participants read their book, and then in September, gather to discuss their books in the Summer Reading Celebration, Head Librarian Christi Shaner added.

This year, the South Reads book choices include: Scythe by Neal Shusterman, Inheritance Games by Jennifer Barnes, Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez, Almost American Girl by Robin Ha, Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean, Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus, Loveless by Alice Oseman, and The Getaway by Lamar Giles. Summer reading sign-ups took place from May 11-12 in the hallway outside of the library, Shaner said.

“The purpose of [South Reads] is to promote the love of reading because being able to [choose and find pleasure] in what you read is so important,” Shaner said.

English Teacher Katie Hoover enjoys reading because of the insight it gives her into the minds of a variety of characters.

“Especially reading fiction, you can meet people and get inside their heads in a way that you would not otherwise be able to,” Hoover said. “These days, it is really hard for people to be honest about who they are, so I enjoy reading because [it allows me] to know someone for who they are.”

Outside of schoolwork, 58 percent of South students read independently, according to an unofficial Oracle survey of 320 South students. Whether or not students enjoy reading, the benefits of this activity are indisputable, Hoover said.

“[Reading independently] gives [students] an opportunity to explore genres, learn about hobbies, learn from people’s real life experiences, and become aware of things that are happening in the world,” Hoover said.