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Reading is a perfect activity for students during school holidays. Reading is frequently experienced as a range of dualities: absorbing and distracting; enticing and disorienting; relaxing and stimulating; independent and dependent; complex concepts accessed through the simple act of reading; escapist and engaging; soothing and exciting. These dualities are powerfully reinforcing for gifted readers, who often have freedom to adjust their reading capability, complexity of text, interest in content and pace of reading to experience what Hungarian-American psychologist, Mihály Csíkzentmihályi describes as 'Flow'.

The link between intelligence, language acquisition and reading skills is clear. As the brain acquires language, the neural structure changes and develops an individual's capacity to think, analyse information, synthesise ideas and create.  Mariah Evans, a sociologist from the University of Nevada, identified that students raised in homes with five hundred books are likely to progress an average of 3.2 years further in education than students who have not had as much exposure to reading, highlighting that the development of literacy skills is correlated with the completion of higher education.

Avid readers exponentially increase their language skills (including vocabulary, sentence construction, grammar, and the expression of abstract ideas) through reading.  Language builds the brain's capacity for thought.  Steven Stahl, the author of books about teaching vocabulary, said: “We use words to think; the more words we know, the finer is our understanding of the world."   Whether using a range of devices or reading within a traditional format, it is the structure of language, the complexity of text and the ideas expressed that provide stimulus for thought and the development of literacy skills.

One of my books is Roly Sussex's Word for Today - a book of excerpts from his long-running ABC radio program of the same name.  On this radio program and in the book, UQ Emeritus Professor of Applied Language Studies, Roly Sussex, describes the etymology, common use and misuse of certain words and idioms.

​From another source, I have become aware that the word 'mathematics' originates from the Greek 'manthanein' – which means 'to learn'.  This seems to be particularly apt as mathematics must be learned.  From my reading, I have also discovered that our word computer originates from the Latin word 'computare' – which means to calculate. Mediaeval scholars used a set of mathematical tables called 'computus' to calculate astronomical events and 'comput' was a French word used for calculating the movable date when Easter would occur each year. These may be considered idiosyncratic facts – without broad interest; however, individuals can read in their own area of interest – whatever that is.

Holiday time – without the regular schedules required during term time – provides the perfect time for lengthy, uninterrupted periods of reading.  Reading material is easily transportable and can be accessed in many ways now, so wherever one is located, holidays provide the perfect time to read.  Enjoy reading, these holidays.

​© Michele Juratowitch  

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Last reviewed 02 December 2022
Last updated 02 December 2022