In the last 20 years, reading has declined dramatically: in every age group, race, income group, and region. When people consider whether or not reading is important, they only consider childhood reading. While it is very crucial to read with your children, adults have just as much need to continue reading past schooling age. Adults as well as children should read any chance they get because the ability to read well is essential to function in today’s society, it stimulates the human mind, and it develops the imagination and the ability to learn new things.
Everything in today’s society requires reading, from reading instructions to becoming employed. Imagine trying to do something as simple as reading the directions on a medicine bottle without good reading skills. Someone could misinterpret a crucial step and become very sick or even die. This could happen very easily today considering “46% of American adults cannot understand the label on their prescription medicine” (The Literacy Company). Getting or keeping a job would also prove very difficult. How would you look to a possible employer if you said you didn’t have very adequate reading skills? It’s likely the job wouldn’t be yours. Even something as simple as walking or driving through the city could become extremely dangerous without sufficient reading and interpretation skills. Sometimes, the capability of reading words is not enough; you must be able to understand what is written and construe them.
Having others help someone who is illiterate is an option, but it is most definitely not a very easy one. They cannot support themselves and must depend on someone else to function. It would be very challenging for them to even get a job because “Approximately 50 percent of the nation’s unemployed youth age 16-21 are functional illiterate, with virtually no prospects of obtaining good jobs” (The Literacy Company). Illiterate people won’t be able to help their children read. It may even end up that the child will start to teach their parent!
Reading also stimulates the human mind. It gives us something to do besides watch television. Our brain is a muscle, and just like any other muscle in the body, if you do not exercise it, it turns to mush. Reading uses interpretation and comprehension unlike video games or television shows. When you are reading, you often pause to think about what you just read, or if you don’t understand a part, you can go back and read it again. When you watch television or listen to an audio book, even though the option is usually there, typically these are not paused. “The average reader even spends about 1/6th of the time they spend reading actually rereading words” (The Literacy Company). Stopping and thinking about things gives your mind an engaging activity and this helps improve mental health and stamina of our brains. It is actually said that “the best reading is often rereading” (Gardner 3). When reading to a child, what’s a popular thing to do? Many pause and ask “What do you think will happen next?” inviting the child to explore their imagination and the story itself. Whether adults realize it or not, we do this ourselves when we read, always questioning what will happen next.
Many people try to disagree with the importance and ability of reading on the human mind. Some people say that reading is a waste of time and we can do better things with our time. Reading is one of the most important aspects of our lives. Even if we don’t read books, we still read every day, and reading books only strengthens our reading abilities. Reading is one of the greatest things we can do with our spare time, as Joseph Addison so expertly said. “Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors.”
Perhaps one of the most easily defendable arguments is the capability of reading to develop the imagination and the ability to learn new things. Reading can help your imagination take you anywhere or let you do anything. The more your imagination grows, the more able you are to go to new places on your own, without the help of a book. You can use a book to find out about a place, and with your newly expanded imagination, you can visualize the place and go there yourself. You can go anywhere, whether there has been an extensive book written about it or not. Who knows, you may end up coming up with your own world and having to write about it.
Some also seem to object to reading often because there is always something offending people. Everything in today’s world offends someone, and that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do or use it? A good library has lots of types of books for many different ages, but like Jo Godwi said, “A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.”
With a book, you can travel anywhere you want, do anything you want, and talk to anyone you want. With good reading and comprehension skills, you can get good jobs, and function great in today’s society. A book has the power to cause our minds to long for more information and want to read more. They grab the reader’s attention and use their magical abilities to make the reader believe whatever the words may be saying. Reading is one of the most important aspects of our lives, no matter your age.
kristi421, Waverly, KY
Reading is important because it develops the brain. The brain is a muscle. It needs exercise. Understanding the written word is one way the mind grows in its ability. Teaching young children to read helps them develop their language skills. It is how we discover new things. Books, magazines and even the Internet are great learning tools which require the ability to read and understand what is read. A person who knows how to read can educate themselves in any area of life they are interested in. We live in an age where we overflow with information, but reading is the main way to take advantage of it. Reading also develops imagination. TV and computer games have their place, but they are more like amusement. Amusement comes from two words “a” [non] and “muse” [think]. Amusement is non-thinking activities. With reading, a person can go anywhere in the world…or even out of it!…
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