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Reading: One of the Best Exercises for the Brain – English Speech and Composition – High

Do you like reading? Which is the last book you have read? Which are some of the benefits of reading?

According to scholars, reading is one of the best exercises for the brain due to it improves concentration and enhances the ability to focus. Some other benefits of reading are that it improves literacy, increases general knowledge and helps in the reduction of stress and betters sleeping routines.

In High School, just as the rest of our school, Rochester foments reading in all ages and in different languages, Spanish, our native language, English and French or Portuguese. Throughout this school year, especially during this second semester, our high school students have read three important literature classics.

In 9th grade, students read Beowulf, an Epic or Heroic poem considered the best of Old English Literature. Written in 700 – 1000 CE or AD which tells the story of a Scandinavian hero “Beowulfâ€, who became famous by defeating Grendel , a monster that tormented King Hrothgard and his kingdom for many years and killing his mother. At the end of the story, he even defeated a fire breathing dragon earning the name of the Hero of the Geats. In mythology, there have been many important heroes who have done good dees for humankind such as Achilles, Hercules and Odysseus, amongst so many others, and Beowulf is not the exception.   

In 10th grade, students had the chance to read what is probably known as the first Science Fiction Novel, written by Mary Shelly. Can you guess the name? Yes, Frankenstein! Students entered the world of Victor Frankenstein, the creator of a horrible monster assembled by old body parts and mystical chemicals, and who was brought to life through a spark of electricity. The confused monster, who was abandoned by his creator, tried to fit into society, failing at his task due to the grotesque physical appearance given by Frankenstein. As a revenge, the monster decided to kill the people Victor loved the most. At the end, Victor sets a quest to find the monster and take revenge for what it has done. This classic covers the ambition of knowledge and how some people want to play God.

In 11th grade, students learned about Gothic literature through Dracula, an epistolary novel by Bram Stoker. This is the story of Jonathan Harper, a young English lawyer who traveled to Castle Dracula in Transylvania to conclude a real estate transaction with a nobleman named Count Dracula. As the story develops, Jonathan and his fiancée, Mina Murray, found out that Count Dracula possessed supernatural powers and diabolical ambitions. In the meantime, Professor Van Helsing was probably the only one who knew Dracula’s real intentions and weaknesses, such as garlic and sunlight. The story is mainly about the consequences of modernity, the fear of outsiders and superstitions. This is a must read classic of all times.

Richard Moreno English Speech and Composition Teacher


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