Reading is probably one of the single most fundamental skills that we develop in our lives. The level in which you read determines a lot of what your understanding is on a variety of topics. Some people read like a addict and keep the reading going all day and everyday of their life while others rarely crack open a book or turn a page other than a food menu.
We use reading to gain insights into the world of the unknown, travel around the world in 80 days, learn about things that interest us and read the writings of the King Of Mongkok. There are endless things to read and for some people, they try to read as much as they can. Reading can be immensely entertaining and it can also be immensely boring. It all depends on the what and why you are reading that either keeps you in the pages or keeps you away from walking into a book store.
Are We Reading Enough in Our Lives
Nowadays, when on the subway or bus in our daily commutes, or even when walking down the street it seems that everyone is reading something on their hand held device. But are they all really reading anything or are they just scrolling through social media and news headlines? Are they reading or rereading Bram Stoker’s Dracula on a Kindle like app or are they swiping left on Tinder?
It seems that we are engaging heavily with words but people are not really reading enough. As technology grows and we can get e-books of all kinds of titles with a simple click, it seems that people are conversing less about the great book that they’ve just read and talking more about what he said or she said on Facebook.
Often it seems that I’m the only person on the subway that actually has a book in hand and reading it. I want to believe that people are engaged heavily with their favorite author’s words and know more about the world from books that they’ve read and not from social media status updates, but that might not be the case.
Life Learning Through Books
We are in a time where there is information overload at the tips of our fingers with the Internet gaining more and more of deep hooks into our daily lives. While we live a much better life with the invent of the Internet, there still seems to be a great deal of the life that can be learned through reading an actual book. Turning the pages and feeling the paper between your fingers helps to bring the words alive and you build a physical connection to the words and the writer.
Anything that you wanted to learn about is written between two covers somewhere in a book store or through a quick search on any book buying website. To break the newly established habit of reading online, it can be a type of therapy to hold a book in your hands and sit by yourself in a place that you can forget the outside word and melt into the pages of the book. You would be surprised as to how your relationship with reading can change when you start to give time to reading a physical book and not on a screen. Plus having a really big library at your house is way kool (kool is always with a ‘k’).
Language Learning Through Reading
The great linguist Stephen Krashen talks heavily about how having comprehensible input can greatly develop your language learning abilities. I can’t say that he is wrong in any kind of a way because I have witnessed it myself through my own second language learning journey and as I move onto learning Thai, I can already see how my Thai will grow greatly due to being able to read the language. Even my English language abilities have grow greatly from reading more English. Personally, when I was young, my teachers labelled me as having dyslexia and learning disabilities. I hated reading. I never read anything for the first 25 or so years of my life. The first book that I read cover to cover was “The Tao of Jeet Kune Do” , by Bruce Lee. I read it on the plane ride from D.C. to Hong Kong in 2001 and I was so impressed with myself that I read an entire book for the first time in my life.
That feeling of accomplishment helped me to want to read more and I did and I slowly started to see how my English was getting better. Since I am a consistent journal writer, I can go back and look at my writing style, grammar and spelling from journals of the past. Let me tell you, it’s rough reading in terms of structure. For a native English speaker to write like that, I can understand why my teachers would say that when I was much younger. So even if you are just reading in your own language, your language abilities will improve with the more reading that you do.
Entertainment Through Reading
Again with the amount of technology that we have to get us top flight entertainment at any moment in our life, we seem to be missing out on the power of the brain to entertain us. To watch a movie or TV show to fill the void in terms of entertainment has become so easy, our brains are almost sitting idle waiting to be used to create some images for us to see from words we feed it.
Reading helps us to create images in our mind that cannot be replicated on a screen. When we watch a movie that is telling a story of a book, it is the makers of the movie that had that image in their heads to show to you. If you had already read the book, often you will say, ‘the book is better’. It’s because the images and feeling we get from reading the book are our own personal connections that we make with the story and they are ours to keep. Besides, there are tons and tons of books that are great reads if we give them our time and energy to bring them into our personal library.
What I Read and How Reading Changed Me
I normally do not read much fiction. That is just my personal preference as I have more of an interest in nonfiction because I feel like I still have so much to learn about things and that will keep me reading more. I also find it a more effective use of my time if I am reading to learn more rather than go off into a land of fictional creativity. Not to say that I never read fiction, I have read a bit but normally I don’t. I’m a hardcore day dreamer and I give my imagination a serious workout daily.
My style of reading is probably like that 12 year old with ADHD holding a TV remote in hand as I read bits of this and bits of that, which is purely based on my mood. I will walk by the bookshelf and grab a book of something that I want to read at that moment. It may take me a year or more to finish a book, if I finish it at all. Morgan Housel in his great book entitled, “The Psychology of Money” said ‘most readers don’t finish the books they begin because most single topics don’t require 300 pages of explanation’, and at times I agree with this. We don’t need to finish every book to know what the book is about or trying to teach us. We can also always come back to the pages and turn some more to delve more into that topic.
From becoming a reader, I now truly have found the love of reading to be real and great. I crave books at times and have to stop myself from buying too many. I am interested in many different topics of learning and I have at least some experience with many different types of topics as well, so this leads me down any aisle of any bookshop and I can usually always find something that interests me.
I hope that more people try to read more and put it on their list of goals to gain greater self growth. Books help our minds to grow as we grow as individuals. Students shouldn’t look at books as a chore and understand that the entertainment value of a book is greater when you are reading something that you are genuinely interested in.
Grow with books and let books be from what you grow from. Check out KOMK on video talking about the power of reading.