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  • A female college student reads a book and listens to music with headphones

    Boost Your Brain Power Through Reading

    Myaya Morton

    The action of reading, no matter how big or small, improves memory and concentration. It involves a complex network or brain circuits and signals. Reading more and more strengthens those networks and reduces stress by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. When reading there are multiple processes that happen starting with word analysis and visualization and ending with vocalization and comprehension.

    Reading Improves Memory

    Reading can actually improve memory because of the multiple brain functions involved. It allows more time for the brain to stop; you have to think about what you read, process it, and then imagine what is happening in the story. These particular steps help you recall information and sharpen your memory.

    Increases Vocabulary

    Scientists Timothy Keller and Marcel Just discovered that intense reading in young children causes the brain to physically rewire itself and create more white matter which improves communication hence why some young children have a more developed vocabulary than their peers. Reading is also contagious so if you read to or around children, they are more likely to read on their own.

    Increase Attention Span

    Nowadays it is easy to grow bored because everything is becoming routine – getting off work or out of class and watching a series on Netflix. Reading actually increases your attention span. Due to the sequential narrative style, the author has to keep you engaged thus increasing your attention span. While books come in digital formats now (audio and etext), reading a physical book can create a stronger impact due to the connection your sense of touch makes with your brain.

    Helps Relax and Promote Sleep

    Ever had trouble falling asleep and decided to watch some television to help? Using screens like your phone, tablet or television can actually keep you awake longer and cause you to lose sleep. Reading a book helps you relax after a long day which allows you to go to sleep easier.

    This summer, grab a good book and spend the day reading. It’s said that it takes twenty-one days to build a habit and ninety days to build a lifestyle so why not make reading one. Remember, it is one of the healthiest hobbies in the world!

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  • A digitally produced graphic with the text ‘Black History Month’ above several raised hands of varying skin tones against a black background.

    The Evolution of Negro History Week to Black History Month

    Myaya Morton

    Black History Month is a designated month-long U.S. holiday held every February since 1976. It serves as a time to recognize the contributions and achievements made by African Americans throughout U.S. History. During the month there are hosts of events such as student plays, television specials and marches commemorating trailblazers. Many know about the month but don’t understand the history behind Black History month.

    It begins with Carter G. Woodson, who was an American historian, author, and professor of history, earning a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1912. In 1926, Woodson established and celebrated Negro History Week. Rumors say Woodson chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Fredrick Douglass, two pivotal men in Black History. Woodson wanted the week to demonstrate what Negro students learned throughout the school year. A theme was set each year for the celebration and Woodson, along with the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now known as the Association for the Study of African American History – ASALH), provided study materials.

    In the 1940’s, the Black community slowly began to expand the study and celebration of Black History in public and curriculum. Within the schools, teachers would hide the books but replace United States History lessons with the Black History books. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s that there was a more aggressive stance. Due to the racist climate of America at the time, many young African Americans on college campuses became more conscious and resilient against the oppression.

    Finally, in 1976, fifty years after Woodson’s first efforts to celebrate, the ASALH officially expanded the annual event to Black History Month. Since then, every United States President has recognized February as Black History Month. They have even issued proclamations endorsing the annual theme.

    The theme for 2023 is Black Resistance considering the recent acts of racial terrorism, ongoing oppression, and police violence. This year try to learn more about Black History aside from the Civil Rights Activists and Slave abolitionists such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman and Malcolm X. For more details and information about this year's celebration, you can visit

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  • A graphic created by the blog author. The words Happy Kwanzaa appear in thick block letters across the top and the Kinara with the Kwanzaa candles is underneath. At first day of Kwanzaa appears on either side of the Kinara – Dec 26, 2022.

    The Observation of Kwanzaa

    Myaya Morton

    In the 1960's, Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor and chairman at California State University created the holiday of Kwanzaa to bring the Black community together. He borrowed many aspects from other harvest celebrations to produce a week-long holiday. Kwanzaa, the name means “first fruits” in Swahili.

    Each day of Kwanzaa respects one of the seven principles – Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith). All seven of these principles collectively are referred to as the Nguzo Saba which derive from the African values of building and reinforcing community. On each night of Kwanzaa, the family gathers and one child lights a single candle in the candle holder or Kinara while discussing the principle of that day.

    The symbols of the holiday are very important as well. Mazao are the crops which include fruits, nuts and vegetables which symbolizes the work done to celebrate and feast for the holiday. The mkeka or place mat comes directly from Africa being made from straw or cloth. It symbolizes history, culture and tradition and serves as a figurative foundation for the lives of those who celebrate. The Vibunzi is a stalk of corn that represents fertility. It brings good luck for reproduction of children and future hopes into the household.

    The Mishumaa Saba are the seven candles comprised of three red, three green and one black candle while the candle holder is called the Kinara. These seven candles are placed in a very specific order. The candles symbolically are the sun’s power and are there to provide light. The Unity Cup from which each member drinks is called the Kikombe Cha Umoja. Lastly, Zawadi are the gifts which are given on the seventh day of Kwanzaa. The purpose of the gifts is to encourage the use of the seven principles and are exchanged between family members.

    Many households celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa simultaneously since one is religious and one is strictly secular. This year, Kwanzaa will be celebrated from Monday, December 26, 2022 to Sunday, January 1, 2023.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started!