Reading is a cognitive act that relies largely on memory, comprehension and attention. And it is often the most effective way to learn a new skill, topic or subject. When we read, we constantly take in words and interpret their meanings to better understand what is being written. And it is a daily act, one that we do almost involuntarily.
Each day we read the news and take in information. Students routinely study for their schools and colleges. Employees rely on their reading and comprehension skills to undertake their jobs. Even in our leisure, we read, from newspapers and magazines to social media feeds. And we exchange text messages through our electronic media. Thus, it is through words that we come to comprehend the world around us.
The author George Orwell once said, “The best books…are those that tell you what you already know.”Indeed, readers often wonder at the works of literature that turn mundane and everyday occurrences into something monumental.
For me, reading has been an amalgam of entertainment and knowledge for years. As a beginning reader, I read articles in newspapers and then widely read novels. Novels are easy to read because they are written in a narrative form which pulls the readers further into the story. It further builds suspense and thrills so that the readers keep turning the pages. I have been an avid fiction reader for years
. I read so often that it became almost second nature. I couldn’t stop reading and was always on the lookout for new books and authors. An extraordinary thing happened. My vocabulary grew and so did my grasp of the English language. I could read a variety of books easily. I also felt the inspiration to write which led me to pursue writing. Today, as I navigate the terrains of writing, I keep finding encouragement through vigorous reading.
It is well understood that reading is important.
We first learn to read and write as young children and as we grow up, we learn about the world around us. It is through the sheer act of reading that students learn about a particular subject. Most professions in the world require literacy. Thus young students are constantly encouraged to study. However, reading as leisure is only just beginning in Nepali society.
Parents and teachers baulk at youths who read novels in their spare time. Instead, students are suggested to read textbooks which can be quite limiting. Apart from necessary reading, one can also read for entertainment, escape and knowledge. From fiction to nonfiction, there is a lot of knowledge to be gained through books outside of the school curriculum. They provide readers with a new perspective and different ways of thinking. Readers in the long term gain an empathetic point of view.
They also learn about the human world and its intricate history. The real world then appears to be full of possibilities that further open up new opportunities in personal and professional lives. As Ursula K. LeGuin has said, “We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel…is an essential guide to our understanding of what we are and may become.”
Through words stitched into sentences, paragraphs and chapters we learn about world history, the sciences, art, humanities and culture. However, learning isn’t the only merit of reading; through books, we also can entertain ourselves and get ourselves out of difficult times. As seen during the pandemic, more and more people turned to reading while they stayed home during the lockdown. The sales of books particularly ebooks increased significantly. The book industry thrived even though authors couldn’t go on book tours and signings. Instead, readers ordered their choices of books online.
How can we then cultivate a better reading culture in our societies? Firstly, young kids should be introduced to children’s literature. Parents can instil the gravitas of words in children by reading to them. In Western societies, parents read bedtime stories to children who then drift to sleep thinking of stories and reliving them in their minds. It certainly encourages a vivid imagination.
When children who read grow up, they perform better in education and career. Teachers too are responsible for instilling a love of reading in students. Instead of just reading for school assignments, students must read in their spare time as well. Since books are expensive, libraries are the most accessible and affordable option to procure books. Thus, libraries ought to be built in every city, village and town.
There is no refuting the empowering nature of words. The most influential people in history were eager and inquisitive readers. People should acknowledge that ultimately, the growth of nations depends largely on well-read and educated people. Therefore, it is about time we inculcated the habit of reading in our communities.
Source : TRN,