where the writers are
Reading Sets the Mind Free

By Youngjoo Ahn


Watching television was not part of my childhood experience.  Some may think that I was a stereotypical Asian child with parents who forced education on me from an early age. Although my parents cancelled the television subscription, I was not deprived. I loved to read and my enjoyment for reading has continued through my teen years. 

Books and educational toys can make a child smarter, but they also influence how the brain grows, according to new research by the Society for Neuroscience. Parents can help young children develop their cognitive skills by providing a stimulating environment and my parents did just that. 

After a long day, reading is a wonderful way to unwind. Reading allows the mind to imagine settings and characters while entertaining our souls. Our brains thrive on imagination and creativity. 

“My brain is always so exhausted after school and it’s tempting to watch TV.  I choose to read because it relaxes me no matter how tired I am,” student Yurika Kazama said. 

As a passive activity, when we watch television, our brains do not interact with characters  or scenes. Educational stimulus is prevented as we watch scenes unfold without participating.  Books on the other hand teach us about history, society, and the world we live in.  The more we read, the better writers we become.  Greek tragedies like Antigone or Steinbeck’s East of Eden are as relevant today as they were when they were penned. 

Human behavior has not changed much since Shakespeare was writing plays. The hero’s journey, a popular theme in fiction, may have been first witnessed in The Odyssey yet continues to form the plot lines of movies and novels today such as the Star Wars sagas and The Hunger Games

Whether we read for entertainment or education, it’s important to incorporate reading into our lives. Reading gives us a perspective into other people’s existence, a view of the history of humanity, and a glimpse into a possible tomorrow. 

My parents were wise in developing my addiction to books. Reading is the key to opening the door to a successful future.  This New Year, make a resolution that will benefit you for a lifetime. Open the floodgates of imagination and read.  Books set us free.


Youngjoo Ahn is a junior at Miramonte High School. She is the host of Express Yourself!™Teen Radio, co-President of Miramonte’s Club BTSYA, and enjoys volunteering, writing, and learning new things. 


As the editor and teen coach forTeen Scene for the newspaper, Cynthia Brian has had the opportunity to work with talented teens with attitude and opinions. She shares selected published works. To read numerous articles shepherded by Cynthia, visit www.BTSYA.com