Students reading for fun more often during pandemic


Amber Nathan

The bookshelf in the home of third-year communications student Amber Nathan is stocked with classics. Nathan, like other students, says she has been reading more since the pandemic has kept her at home.

Dominic Salacki, Reporter

Students are reading more since they have been stuck at home during the pandemic.

First-year transfer studies student Ryan Oberteuffer said before COVID, he would normally spend his free time hanging around with friends or family.

“I had to find ways to entertain myself, so I definitely started reading more [after the pandemic started],” Oberteuffer, a Campus Current reporter, said. “It just filled in a gap for me.”

One in four American internet users estimated they have read or listened to more books or audiobooks because of the pandemic’s stay-at-home requirements, according to a survey by Global English Editing, an editing and proofreading service.

Social distancing and lockdowns led 35% of people to read more, according to the poll. And 14% of them said they read significantly more.

English professor Candice Hill, who reads “The Count of Monte Cristo” annually, said she has seen a comeback in reading for fun, especially with the students in her Ethnic American Literature course. She said her students hold side conversations about books they are reading and would recommend to their classmates.

Third-year communications student Amber Nathan said she is a huge fan of classic novels and is always reading for fun.

“Reading is my No. 1 favorite pastime other than writing,” Nathan said.

Nathan, a former Campus Current editor-in-chief, said she used to check out books all the time before COVID closed her local library.

“Unfortunately, with COVID, I can’t go to the library and pick up new books, so that’s the reason I’ve been reading more classics lately,” said Nathan, whose home is well-stocked with books.

According to English professor Antione Tomlin, who has been reading for fun since high school, it’s important to make time to read.

“It’s important that students understand the importance of reading but also making sure that [professors] give students those foundational skills so that they can comprehend, so they can think critically about what they’re reading, not just reading to read,” Tomlin said.

Hill, who said she regularly reads for fun, is working her way through six books, including one on her Kindle to read when she is bored; one audiobook to listen to while doing housework; two physical copies to hold and take notes in; and the book she assigned to her English 102 students.

When the pandemic started, Hill said, she altered her reading habits and began reading short stories, essays and poems.

“I think it was that initial couple of months when the pandemic started that I was finding it hard to get into novels,” Hill said.

When summer break came in 2020, Hill’s attention span increased and she went back to reading longer works.

“[Summer break] eased up the energy level,” Hill said.

Oberteuffer said he plans to pause his reading spree to focus on his schoolwork as the spring semester comes to an end.

“I’ll hunker down, get my work done and then I’ll probably realize I have the same amount of time to read as I always did,” Oberteuffer said.

Oberteuffer is reading two books from the Warhammer Fantasy collection, including one that is 800 pages.

“I’m a pretty fast reader according to my friends, but I read slow enough to enjoy the novel,” Oberteuffer said. “I’m not obsessed with going fast when I read.”

Nathan spent part of the pandemic finishing two classics: “Black Beauty” and “The Wind in the Willows.”

“Next, I am going to tackle ‘Anne of Green Gables’ by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Nathan said.