Reading into Book Club

NVOT’s book club encourages independent reading

Teenagers are readers, whether we think we are or not. We read everything: from cereal boxes to text messages. In fact, you’re reading this right now. However, not everyone has the time to read full-length novels or plays, or may simply not know what to read. The NVOT book club exists to bring back the love of reading in students, without the additional stress that curriculum novels bring.

Reading among teens has been on a well-known decline. In fact, “in recent years, less than 20 percent of U.S. teens report reading a book, magazine, or newspaper daily for pleasure, while more than 80 percent say they use social media every day.” In the age of Instagram and Snapchat, people between the ages of 13-18 often prefer to look at a screen as opposed to a page of a book, or as club advisor Stacie Collins stated, “we’re living in a tweets world rather than a novel world.” Even though the club does not seek to fix this problem entirely, “if people become engaged in the club, the students themselves could be combating the issue, even a little bit at a time,” she stated.

In fact, Collins stated that the main point of the club is to “foster a love of reading.” “There are no stakes involved, there’s no paper or test that goes along with it,” Collins said, “We’re going to read and talk about books because we like reading and talking about books. There’s something kind of lovely about that.”

The club is student-driven, giving them the option to choose the book that they will read every month. “To give people a choice in terms of what they read, we do a monthly poll,” she mentioned, “If someone who isn’t in the club sees a book on the list that they love, they can add it. It helps to get people to talk about reading and get excited to read.”

The club also aims to serve as a safe place, where whoever wants to come in will be welcomed with open arms. “It’s open to anyone who wants to read a book and talk about it,” Collins stated. “Faculty, staff, students, it doesn’t matter who you are.”

Junior Eli Levenshus has been in the book club since his freshman year, and he explained that books “can have a profound impact on our lives.” However, outside of the club, no one he knows enjoys reading the way he does in the club. “Although reading is a great and fulfilling activity, it is not hard to understand why people my age do not read for fun,” he said. “High school students are so busy with schoolwork, sports, social media, and video games that they spend no time reading for pleasure.”

Over the past three years, the club has only expanded Levenshus’ love of reading and introduced him to his love of dystopian novels. “My favorite book that I’ve read in this club was Brave New World by Aldous Huxley,” he stated. “After reading the book, I had a satisfying discussion at Book Club that magnified my interest. It made me expand past my horizons and read different books, including 1984 by George Orwell.”

The December book will be Turtles All the Way Down by John Green, and the next meeting will be December 19 in room F208.