COLLEGE STUDENTS BENEFIT FROM NON-ACADEMIC, LEISURE READING

– submitted photo

KATIE HIRV, STAFF WRITER

Reading for academic purposes is a common college acitivity, however some students are unable to recall reading something for fun.

“Choosing your own [reading] material is part of being that engaged citizen and scholar…making your own choices, finding what you enjoy, finding your vocation, you know, discovering who you
are,” Jill Westen, college and information literacy librarian at the Vogel Library, said. “I think of it similarly as learning another language or traveling or learning a new skill, activity, or sport.”

A lack of time, fatigue and the expense of reading materials were the largest barriers to leisure reading, according to a study by Erin M. Watson, librarian of Leslie & Irene Dubé Health Sciences Library at the University of Saskatchewan.

However, students that are not reading for leisure could be missing
out. “Reading is really good for building our empathy; being able to read other people’s situations and see what their life circumstances are, expand our worldviews, make us feel not so alone,”

Amandajean Freking Nolte, information literacy librarian at Wartburg College, said. “It’s good for your brain, it’s good for your critical thinking. We learn from people that are good at things.”

In the study performed by Watson, 72% of the students involved in the study said that reading for leisure had helped improve empathy skills in some capacity.

The act of reading may be scrolling through a Twitter feed or checking an email, Nolte said.With technological advances, there are numerous podcasts, e-readers and e-book services available.

Students who are reluctant to engage in leisure reading do enjoy it more when using a Kindle Fire because of both text and audio reading capabilities, according to a study by Annie Jansen, a reference and instruction librarian at Penn State Brandywine. Vogel Library has a vast number of scholarly articles and resources available for the Wartburg community, with many of the materials centered around research, academia and courses. The resources are found at the library or through the online Vogel Library search engine. Wartburg students also have access
to the Waverly Public Library.

The Waverly Public Library, located at 1500 West Bremer Avenue in Waverly, IA. This library hosts a wide variety of resources and reading materials, including both research and leisure reading materials.

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