Why Reading is Important


Child reading  pile of books.

This is a subject I’ve wanted to write about for years. Why I haven’t until now? Well, other topics rose to the top of my list and I have always pushed it back down thinking no one is really interested in this topic. Buy we all should. It’s increasingly obvious over the years that, generally, people don’t read anymore. There are friends of mine that are , or seem to be astute in several areas but when asked they tell me they received the information from some television program. I’m not saying that’s bad, but if someone wants to become a Subject Matter Expert, even as an amatier on. something, they need to read.

With the exception of universities and colleges, all around this country public libraries are failing. People just don’t go there anymore. Bookstores, everywhere, are going out of business. Some say it’s because of the advent of business like Amazon, but that’s too easy. Jeff Bezos started his company selling books (I bought more than a few in the early days), but that’s not the real reason. People just don’t read very much anymore. They may read the occasional article online, and that’s good, but how many people take the time ut of their lives to sit and actually read a book? I argue here, few.

Of my generation, the so called “boomers” I think there are still a lot of us that read regularly. I can’t say for sure how many, but of those I know personally, every one of us read books: novels, history, science fiction – whatever, on a regular basis. I haven’t looked recently, but the last time I saw a survey, demographically,  I was shocked to see that those 18-24 read 0-6 books a year with the majority in that category reading zero. Those 25-34? A bit better but not much: 3-4 book per year.

The older the demographic, the higher the number became. Why is that? I can only speak for myself but it was because as a child, I was encouraged to read. Not by my parents telling me to read, but by example. My parents were always reading. Not every evening, but enough that it made an impression upon me at an early age. Remember as a kid the biggest day of your life? Was it when you passed your drivers test and received your license? Mine was, and I’m not kidding, getting my library card when I was six.

Entire new worlds opened up for me. I travelled to exotic countries, met strange creatures on planets far away, solved crimes. I was hooked for life and I have to say, I think my kid id as well. Since her earliest years, she’s seen me reading. What do kids do at five or six years old is often mimic what they see their parents do and that’s why it’s important to display those qualities to them as early as possible.

Reading engages the mind and I think helps to develop not just language skills but critical thinking as well. It doesn’t matter what you read: a newspaper, magazine, fiction or non-fiction books, all of these contribute to mental acuity over time.

If you’re not encouraging your kids by setting the example, you should. Many students entering college today do not have the reading skills to compete there. In many cases, they aren’t even at a high school reading level. Shocking, isn’t it? Pouring more money into school systems won’t alleviate that, kids that learn that reading can actually be a fun activity, will.

One thought on “Why Reading is Important

  1. I guess we could accept that online reading is a sort of reading, but it isn’t. There is so much that I know from reading all sorts of books, classics, science fiction, autobiographies, historical novels, fantasies and non-fiction and all that is jumbled inside of me, but I know these things. And, my children don’t. They read in school and at home, but since they grew up, got jobs and had kids, they rarely have time to read for pleasure and adventure and escape and learning.

    I guess it is because when I cram reading books into every available moment, they cram their smart phones into all their available moments. The boys read graphic novels, as well as, create their own and publish them. My daughter would love to read, but doesn’t find the time…but there is the phone and Instagram and something else (not Twitter).

    I have a flip phone that can take lousy pictures and needs dedication and time to text much. They are connected and I am not.

    But they read to their kids and kids books fill their homes. My library is filled with all sorts of books and they are there for the taking by my family anytime they choose.

    Heavy sigh…

    Let us speak of cursive writing sometime and how important that is to the expanding brain of children.

    Jim, do you read your favorite books again and again? That’s me. Even yellowed and slightly brittle paperbacks that are out of print, I read carefully, tenderly and lovingly and enjoy every moment of my return among old friends in those pages.

    The feel of a book, the turning of the page, the smell and the comfort of holding the book. That cannot be replicated by any e-book.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s