Remember when you were a kid, and learning to read was a big deal? Most kids struggle over words that are spelled oddly or ones with too many syllables. Perhaps that’s why it was such a milestone to be able to read beyond a picture book. When those little kids grow up, though, instead of getting cozy on the couch with a book, they’re more inclined to sit on the couch to watch TV. What’s happened to the art of reading?
Reading for Information
Fifty years ago, some made their living by going door-to-door selling encyclopedias. Nowadays, very few families have those in their homes. In fact, many children have no clue what one of those is.
Nowadays if we want quick information, a fact or a definition, we pull out our smartphones. The response to your question appears on the screen more quickly than even Marian the Librarian could deliver it. We rely on phones rather than on libraries, and soon, sadly, those might even go out of style. Most people don’t enjoy the spirit of the search; instead, they want the information pronto. They’ve got a good point.
Reading for Knowledge
There’s a difference between information and knowledge. Information is a fact, in a paragraph or two. Knowledge is learning more in depth about a topic. Once again, people rather reluctantly reach for a book to learn more about a topic. Even students at universities nowadays read their course books online, a few chapters from each. Reading is reading whether the book is an electronic version or a hard copy. Instead of reading, though, many people want to see the book in moving parts, so they’ll scroll through the Internet and find a video to watch that instead.
Well-read people seem to know a little something about everything. Sure, you can do the same by reading the blurbs on the Internet. They might argue that books are out-of-date almost as soon as they are published, that knowledge doubles every 12 months, so how can books keep up? It’s much easier to update a website. They’ve got a good point.
Reading for Relaxation
Here’s the missing element. Back in the day, people would find it comfy-cozy to relax with a book, allowing their minds to create the pictures described by the author, whether the book was fact or fiction, history or fantasy. Some would promise themselves to get up and do other things after reading just one more chapter. Still others would go beyond that and stay up all night with a book that had a stranglehold on their imagination, oblivious of the time.
You might remember books like that which kept you captivated. This next generation may not have that same experience, especially when you look at today’s numbers of today’s adults. There’s something special about the feel of a book and turning the pages, one by one. Studies show that the average American reads only 3 to 4 books a year, although the typical person reads 12. In fact, most adults will read only 200 books in their entire lifetime. By comparison, if a bibliophile read a book every day for 73 years, he would have read 26,000 books. To most, the enormity of that is exhausting.They’ve got a good point.
No matter what the reason, reading is an essential activity. By doing so, we flex our thinking, widen our perspective, and keep in the know. Perhaps you’ll never read a book a day, but be sure to pick up a book a couple of times a year to learn more about yourself, about the world, about business. Once we’re finished with our formal education, we get to choose what we read – so find a genre that intrigues you, and keep feeding your mind with books of one type or another. Lifelong learners keep reading to learn more.
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