Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Reading: Necessity or Luxury?

The time to read is any time: no apparatus, no appointment of time and place, is necessary. It is the only art which can be practiced at any hour of the day or night, whenever the time and inclination comes, that is your time for reading; in joy or sorrow, health or illness. ~ Holbrook Jackson

Yesterday, Judy wrote in her blog about a news article she read that poses the question: Will it matter if people can’t read in the future?.

A few quotes from the article (and let me mention now, that I am horrified by his hypothesis):

Today’s young people are not able to read and understand long stretches of text simply because in most cases they won’t ever need to do so.

...most Americans don’t need to understand more than a hundred or so words at a time, and certainly will never read anything approaching the length of an old-fashioned book.

Young people today, however, have plenty of literacy for everyday activities such as reading signs and package labels, and writing brief e-mails and text messages that don’t require accurate spelling or grammar.


As I mentioned in my comment to Judy, I've always believed (and have passed this on to my daughter) -- if you can read, you can learn anything. I encourage her to read books on things that interest her. If she asks, "Mommy, do flies have ears?" I check out a book about flies. I DON'T grab a video about flies.

I imagine that reading, in the future, will not be a necessity "thanks" to technology, but it's a pleasure. And that makes me a little sad for the people who will never know that. Reading is so much richer than a movie and so much more mind expanding. It develops our imaginations -- we learn to picture the faces of people we've never met who live in places we've never visited.

And don't get me started on the last comment he quoted. I am a freak about the whole text messaging menu of misspelling: CU, etc. Of course, I'm not a big fan of text messaging to begin with, but that's probably because I'm a dinosaur.

Read Judy's post. She has a great rebuttal posted from a man who agrees that reading skills are in the decline, but isn't so sure it's a good thing.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting here. Horrified.


Tori Lennox said...

I couldn't live without reading. It's so not a luxury.

anno said...

This piece punched my "Rant" button and I had to write about it. Thanks again for another inspiration!