MAGIS: THE IMPORTANCE OF READING
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin
The Magis programme is inspired by the Jesuits’ use of the word ‘magis’, meaning both beacon and challenge. Each week, a speaker will talk to the boys about the world beyond St John’s. The array of talks aim to offer our boys an invaluable perspective on their curriculum, encouraging them to learn outside of the classroom.
On Friday 20th January our Upper School boys were in for a treat as Mr Gibbons, Head of English, conducted a ‘Magis Talk’ centred around the importance of reading. In a world of omnipresent screens, we sometimes undermine the simplicity and pleasure of curling up and reading a good book. Words have the power to be an escape; reading is one of the only times in which you can use your imagination, interpret the words and characters how you wish to.
Mr Gibbons began his talk by discussing arguably the most beloved children’s book of all time, Harry Potter. Having sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter has gone down in history as the best-selling book series, working its magic over generations of readers. Readers are transported to the world of Hogwarts in which they form connections with these fictional characters. The series’ popularity has also granted readers to unite over the wizarding world, discussing their thoughts together. Harry Potter has one of the largest fan bases, with children lining up for before midnight the night before Rowling’s book launches.
Reading can also allow you to appreciate the here and now; you are not thinking about the past nor the future, you are simply in the present, relishing in the experience of flipping from one page to the next. Jaime Zepeda spoke more on this, stating,
“As with anything that fully engages your attention, reading makes you stop rushing or running from one point to the next,” Zepeda said. “Instead, you are where you need to be, right here, doing this, and all other things are secondary. The worries, anguish, fears, and ambitions of a moment ago are boxed away in a container that read ‘for later.’ Your only worry is flipping to the next page to find out what’s next.”
The second half of the talk was an opportunity for the boys to share their interpretation of texts they have been reading. There were readings from John Steinback’s, Of Mice and Men, Shakespeare and Louis Sachar’s, Holes. It was wonderful to hear the boys’ thoughtful analyses and their confidence performing was impressive!