Speed dating helps students develop fresh love for reading

Date Posted: 25-Feb-2014

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Year 10 English classes participated in “Book Speed Dating” in the library. The room was set up with a romantic feel with candles, pink tablecloths, red and pink balloons and sweet treats. A variety of books were set on each table – picture books, graphic novels, non-fiction and fiction books of different genres (romance, thriller, crime, adventure, science fiction, fantasy etc). Students selected their first book for their first "date." A timer was set for 5 minutes. When the timer went off everyone filled out their “Rate Your Date” form and then moved to the next table. By the end of the period students had “read” six books. It was great to see the students engage with books they had never encountered before. Many students "fell in love" with a book they were reading and are “meeting up again” by borrowing the book! For others holding a book was a scary experience and five minutes seemed like forever….

I put out the challenge to students that books still exist and are here to stay! When television was invented doomsayers said that radio would die. That has certainly not been the case. In the same way books will continue in spite of computers and technology being part of our lives. Reading is good for us…in fact current research shows that there are many positive benefits from reading a book:

Reading chills us out and relieves stress (more so than listening to music, enjoying a cup of tea/coffee and even taking a walk).
Reading keeps our brain sharp, slows memory loss and can stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Studies show that people who were readers throughout their life had a 32% lower rate in mental decline compared to people who didn’t read. 
Reading helps us sleep better
Reading improves our imagination
Reading helps us develop empathy towards others

Reading vs computers?

  • Books never crash or freeze
  • Books don’t take ten minutes to load
  • Books are cheaper
  • Books don’t need upgrading or updating
  • Books don’t require you to remember passwords or read user manuals
  • Books are still useful after hundreds of years. Computers are redundant after five minutes!

The very latest research can be seen here…very worthwhile reading > The Brain Effects of a Good Novel

And…finally…nothing can beat curling up on a comfy chair with a good book. Try it and see 

Ms Wendy de Jong
Secondary Teacher Librarian 


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