EDMOND—The Just the Best Literature radio program aired its first episode with the newly-formed teen panel consisting of Imperial Academy high school students Jude, Zoe and Leah on January 7 with a double-length program.
Beginning its third year of production in February, Just the Best Literature stresses the importance of educating yourself on the great literature made available in the world. Host Dennis Leap endeavors to encourage not only the reading of literature, but of reading just the best literature.
This particular program, “Encourage Your Teen to Read Printed Books,” stressed the importance of encouraging teens to read real books and to read them often. As many of the program’s listeners are homeschoolers, Leap wanted to create an episode that could benefit them by listening to fellow teenagers as an encouragement to read. He began the program by talking with the teens about their personal electronic versus physical book habits.
Jude and Leah do not enjoy reading on electronic devices because they do not allow them to mark up the pages with a pen. Leah also noticed she was not as focused when reading on a computer as she was when reading on physical paper. She was thankful for the restrictions her parents set on her technology use, noting that she would have wasted a lot of time on technology if her parents had given her unlimited access.
Leap himself recognized how much technology can get one’s attention and take up a great deal of time. He said that he turns off all of his technological notifications while trying to write at work because the constant alerts are too distracting.
This year, Jude, Zoe and Leah said they read 37, 9, and 9-10 books (respectively).
Noting that the three teens are enrolled in a private school and are also involved in Irish dance and private music lessons, Leap was curious how the teens found time to read. They said they often brought books to their dance competitions, read in the car, and aimed to get their homework done quickly to allow time for reading. Zoe and Leah said they often prefer to set aside time before bed for reading.
Later into the program, Jude commented on the importance of reading books to becoming a well-rounded individual.
“What employers want is people that can interact with each other,” said Jude, “they know a little bit about a lot, not a lot about a little bit.”
Zoe noted that books expand your thinking and your mind whereas technological devices shrink it. She also compared the time and effort that go into reading an individual’s comment on a social media page between reading a well-constructed book.
“When you have a book, someone spent years researching. They spent a long time compiling it all together, and they thought about it a lot,” said Zoe, “You need to be reading things that are going to help you learn a lot more and instead of just something someone just threw on to the internet.”
Leah shared her thoughts with Leap and the panel about the importance of reading biographies.
“Their life has been written down for you to take advantage of,” said Leah, “… history is so important for especially young people. And being able to take advantage of that is such a blessing to be able to read books and biographies and to be able to apply the lessons in that to your own life.”
Mr. Leap wrapped up the program by reiterating that those who are really good readers typically grew up in that environment. He then spoke directly to the parents listening to the program:
“If you want your children to be readers, you’ve got to set the pace for them.”
“I thought it went really well,” said Leap, “There is a lesson we can learn from the Imperial Academy students. They do know how to set goals and they know the importance of reading and that is something we can all learn to do.”
Just the Best Literature airs on Mondays at 8:00 a.m. (Central) at kpcg.fm.