“Keep reading. It is one of the most marvellous adventures that anyone can have.” This quote was said by the famous American author Lloyd Alexander, who understood the true joy of reading and therefore made it his life’s mission to provide this joy to others through his writings. Then, what is reading?
According to Oxford Dictionary to read is to, “look at and comprehend the meaning of (written or printed matter) by interpreting the characters or symbols of which it is composed.” But, it is so much more. Reading is a whole activity in itself. Reading takes the reader to a different world.
It enables the reader to vicariously experience things and moments they can’t in real life and live and know the life and experiences of a person they have never met, yet they come to understand. It enables the reader to sympathise, empathise and improve.
We are taught how to read in schools by our teachers. We start reading there. As a child, we explore the world of fairy tales and fantasy while reading stories such as Robin Hood or Goldilocks. Through reading, we come to learn about morals and values.
Stories in the Panchatantra teach us how to be a good human being. As a young child, reading also enhances our knowledge of the world surrounding us. We learn what life is and how it is lived. Thus, this capability of reading distinguishes us from other species on this lovely blue planet.
Reading thus plays an important role in the overall development of us as capable and knowledgeable human beings.
Reading is also an essential activity for the development of human minds. Reading become imperative when one wants to study and learn new subjects.
To master that subject, one needs to know how to read, especially in modern times. Even if you are talented in a sport and want to develop you skills in that field, if you cannot read and understand the rules and how the game is properly played, your efforts would all go to waste.
Reading is also necessary for a young child to learn and understand about the world around her. It is through reading that she comes to understand her surroundings, the things and scenes she sees in her everyday life. She comes to understand how flowers bloom, how rain occurs, how this beautiful planet earth functions and maintains itself, etc.
She also learns about the rules and regulations that govern the society she lives in. She comes to understand that she cannot hurt other people and has a remedy if other people hurt her. She learns about traffic rules, about the government, about courts, etc.
It is through reading that she comes to appreciate all that has been provided to her. She learns about her rights and how she can fight for them if someone arbitrarily takes them away. Through reading, she becomes strong. Finally, it is through reading that she comes to understand the problems that her society faces, the country faces and this planet faces.
To understand these problems, practical experience is not always feasible. It is through reading that she comes to understand these problems and how it is affecting the people. Most importantly, it is through reading that she comes closer to finding a solution to these problems. Thus, she succeeds in making her contribution to making her society a better place.
Reading also increases and develops the imagination and creativity of a person. Many people say that when you read a book, your mind creates a movie for you to enjoy based on your imagination.
A person’s imagination is unbound and seamless. Therefore, a movie based on the novel that the person read is often disappointing and people frequently express the opinion that the book is better than the movie.
Reading also enhances our knowledge and helps us learn new and exciting things which we were not aware of before. The knowledge available to and acquired by human kind is expansive. To even more increase this knowledge, reading is necessary.
Through reading, we can also come to understand the views and opinions of others, compare and contrast them, and for our own independent opinion. Reading newspapers enables us to know about things and events that are physically far away from us. Yet, reading makes it near to us.
Therefore, through reading, we as humans feels connected. No matter how far apart we are in our physical distance from each other, as long as we read, we will be able to connect to each other and share our knowledge and values. This brings people closer to one another. Dr. Seuss, the famous American author rightly said, “The more you read the more things you know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go”
Many people rightly say that reading is to mind as exercise is to body. Reading helps us exercise our brain and develop it. This is the reason why reading is emphasized in school teaching. But, the culture of reading is slowly deteriorating. In our busy lives, we don’t have the time to stop, relax and take some time off just to read.
This can lead to adverse effects. And, these days, even if we do read, we end up reading meaningless things that make no contribution to our knowledge. We need to make time to read and read selectively so that we don’t end up wasting our time on reading things that don’t matter. Thus, there is a need to reignite the reading culture in our schools, homes, etc.
Reading brings us joy that in incomparable to other activities. Reading takes us to a world different from our own, created by words that paint a beautiful scenery for us to enjoy. We immerse ourselves into another world, that for a few precious moments we forget our own.
We forget our problems, worries and troubles and are able to relax and be free and unbound from worldly attachments for a few moments. This brings immense pleasure to the readers. Therefore, in a way, reading takes us away from reality, yet brings us closer to understanding our reality. After all, it is only through reading that we can understand and comprehend the realities of life.
Reading also satisfies our emotional needs. When we are sad, we can read something light and funny to make ourselves happy. When we are feeling curious, or want to go on an adventure, we can delve into the life of detective through novels and grow and develop with the characters.
Reading also helps us understand the experiences of others, whether good or bad. There is a zen proverb that says that ‘It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but even a wiser man to learn from others’ Reading enables us to learn from the experiences of others through their writings. Thus, reading sharpens our decision making skills. We learn to better differentiate between right and wrong and form opinions about matters that are important to us.
Reading also helps us escape our loneliness at times. Books are our best friends and best teachers. They accompany us throughout our lives and we always depend on them to help us escape and lighten our negative emotions. This makes us feel better and brings us pleasure
Thus, reading is an activity full of pleasure and joy. It is for this very reason that no person should be denied the right to read and explore her horizons.
Thus, reading is an activity that everyone as a human should have the opportunity to enjoy. Therefore, governments of various countries should ensure their citizens the right to education. Without knowing how to read, a human is deprived of the one of the most pleasurable activities known to the humankind.