Pamela Angelakis: Getting a read on a productive vacation

We are all aware that the holiday season is a busy and even chaotic time of year, belying one definition of the word holiday: a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.

While that may hold true for the celebratory day itself, it’s the build-up and, to some degree, the after-effects, that keep us moving like the Energizer bunny.

For students, who understandably look forward to an extended break from school at this time of year, it may be a time to put down the textbooks, but it’s also a chance to enrich themselves by reading for pleasure.

That may or may not be accomplished with an actual book, but whether it’s that, or a Kindle, iPad or Kobo, it is an opportunity that should be embraced. There are many reasons why pleasure reading is important, some of which are detailed nicely in this article.

We know one of the greatest benefits of reading is that it can be a lifelong pursuit. Ideally, we start when we are very young and never stop. The aforementioned technology can make it easier than ever to take part. To quote from the article referenced above: “Reading increases our understanding of our own identity, improves empathy and gives us an insight into the world view of others … Reading is not just something that children should do in school; it needs to be an everyday part of our lives, something we choose to do at all ages.”

Reading also helps us to focus; in order to fully comprehend and appreciate any book, it requires our undivided attention. A break from social media is good for everyone, especially children and adolescents, who may be prone to immersing themselves in the various platforms.

Another worthwhile endeavor for those on holiday break is to spend some time formulating goals for the new year. The turning of the calendar provides an opportunity to not only assess goals set at the beginning of the academic year, but also establish a list of priorities for the new year in any aspect of life: academics, athletics, relationships, etc.

Goals help to fuel our ambition and channel our energy. The exercise of goal-setting fosters honest self-evaluation and can result in a feeling of satisfaction when successful in our pursuits, or determination to improve when the opposite occurs. In either scenario, we are better for having gone through the process.

Wishing all students and families a happy and healthy holiday season and a fulfilling 2019.

Pamela Angelakis is Swampscott’s superintendent of schools.

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