August 18, 2021
By Shayna Patel
Summer Communications Intern,
This Summer, I was given the opportunity to intern at Book Harvest. Given that this was my first job ever, I learned numerous valuable skills. However, the one skill that repeatedly proved to be important and stood out to me was communication. I have witnessed communication in a variety of scenarios over the past three months. Whether it was arranging meeting times, updating committee members on my progress with my tasks when deadlines were coming close, or contacting vendors for Book Harvest’s Block Party – the one thing that remained constant was the need for communication. A common belief is that language barriers are a challenge to communication. I can testify that this is not true at all – even though all of the Book Harvest staff members do not share the same primary language, they are still able to advance the organization’s initiatives and continue leaving a lasting impact on our community.
Communication is a skill we begin learning at birth and continue developing throughout our lives. We start by conveying our thoughts and ideas through gestures, then slowly move to sounds that turn into spoken words. Eventually, we learn to read and write.
Did you know that reading plays a significant role in enhancing your communication skills? Reading strengthens your vocabulary, offers new perspectives, teaches you how to connect ideas, and builds sentence structure. These benefits translate to your oral and written communication skills. We need to be able to recognize the link between ideas to make an argument in a debate or deliver a pitch. We also need to be able to see and understand other people’s perspectives. Rarely will we ever encounter someone who shares the exact same experiences and ideas as us. This is where listening, an aspect of communication that is underrated, becomes essential. If you aren’t listening, then you can’t engage in a productive conversation. Reading with comprehension teaches you how to listen and improve your communication.
The resources and support Book Harvest provides its community is helping to give children a head start on building these life skills and prepares them for the classroom and beyond. Their efforts to diversify the range of books children read through their Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors initiative is wonderful. Children are exposed to texts that portray people who have different experiences and backgrounds, and texts that reflect themselves. Access to books and literacy from a young age leaves a lifelong impact on children.
The skills that you gain from reading and comprehension activities are not only beneficial for success in school, but they also prepare you for the workplace and real world. Irrespective of the field of work you are involved in, the ability to read and communicate are crucial, so I encourage everyone to continue learning and exploring through reading!
Shayna is a junior at Green Level High School in Cary. She is an exceptional pianist, volleyball player, activist, and leader. She is multi-lingual and speaks English, Gujarati, Intermediate Spanish. Not only does she maintain a weighted GPA of 4.5, she is also actively involved in General Services Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Girls Who Code, Carolina For The Kids, and the Asian American Club. Book Harvest enjoyed working with Shayna this summer!