In the modern-day whirlwind of technology, with the latest cell phone coming out faster than the battery life on your current one, reading and books have been packed away with flip phones and iPods.
Literacy rates and stats for each country is different, but there is one fact that is common across the globe, reading for pleasure is on the decrease.
I don’t need to inundate you with the statistics that show the ways technology has replaced books – all you need to do is look around at the children in our community or ask them to read a passage from a book suited for their age. Books and reading have become considered outdated for many people, adopting the sentiment that reading is best reserved for academia.
Reading creates an opportunity to step outside of our world and into another. You see, reading has numerous benefits, and it plays a critical role in enhancing our mental capacity. Just as we place importance on physical health, reading is an essential workout for our brain. According to numerous studies, these are just some of the benefits of reading:
• Teaches you empathy
• Increases knowledge
• Vocabulary expansion
• Memory improvement
• Stronger analytical skills
• Stronger writing skills
• Stress Reduction
Reading a book doesn’t always have to be an academic experience. After all, it’s not just non-fiction books that have a positive impact on the brain. Reading about the lives and experiences of others stimulates parts of the brain that aren’t usually used.
Take for example, our emotions. Reading about pain, sadness, anger, happiness, etc. stimulates the part of our brain that would normally feel those emotions, building stronger pathways towards empathy. You’re not just reading, you’re experiencing.
Reading books allows you the opportunity to travel through factious worlds as well as the lives of people around the world today. It allows you the chance to travel through centuries, all the while, improving your brain.
Reading is important, valuable, and necessary for societies. Books are powerful, so it comes as no surprise that they are generally the first to be censored and policed. Censorship of books and knowledge have always been tactics utilized in repressive societies.
The fact is that when you reading, you are actually acquiring knowledge. Seeking knowledge is far more important than earning a college degree. Seeking knowledge is learning about the world and the people who surround us. Gaining knowledge is an all-powerful tool in the current climate of the world we live in.
As is famously said “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” When you stop reading, you stop literacy!