Reading Culture is in decline worldwide.
I have a friend who takes
pride in not being a reader. Surprisingly, he is not alone in this. According
to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, in the US, people aged 15-44 spend only 10
minutes or less per day reading. However, it’s worth noting that the amount of
time spent reading outside of work and school varies significantly across
different age groups. For instance, individuals aged 75 and older read over
four times as much per day, averaging 44 minutes. In contrast, my friend rarely reads, except for when he comes across a sports story in the local
paper. He believes that reading was necessary during his school and work years,
but now that he’s retired, he sees no reason to continue reading.
As for me, I’m an avid
bookworm, devouring around 8 to 10 books every couple of weeks. I firmly
believe in the importance of reading and the numerous benefits it brings. Let
me share some insights with you.
First and foremost, reading
expands our knowledge and exposes us to a multitude of subjects. It opens up
new worlds, presents us with fascinating facts, and offers unique perspectives
that we might not encounter otherwise.
In addition to broadening
our understanding of the world, reading also plays a significant role in
developing our language skills. Immersing ourselves in written words and
sentences enhances our vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension. As a result, we
become better at expressing ourselves and grasping complex ideas.
However, it’s not just the
United States that has seen a decline in reading; this trend is observable
worldwide, according to the United Nations. Many are concerned about this trend
and worry that as a result of not reading as much, society as a whole is
becoming a less knowledgeable and a less empathetic.
Some attribute this decline
to the digital revolution, which has provided alternative ways of acquiring
information and narratives through visual and oral mediums. Oral storytelling,
for instance, has been a fundamental means of sharing knowledge, culture, and
experiences throughout history. When we listen to oral stories, we establish an
emotional connection with the storyteller, developing empathy as we hear their
voice, tone, and the emotions they convey. Oral narratives can vividly paint
pictures and offer diverse perspectives, much like reading stories does.
Engaging with oral storytelling allows us to empathize with others and enhances
our emotional intelligence.
storytelling in the form of movies, TV shows, and theater breathes life into
stories, providing a multisensory experience. Through music, dialogue, and
performances, visual mediums allow us to connect with characters through their
facial expressions and body language, facilitating a deeper understanding.
Visual storytelling complements reading and oral narratives by offering another
way to engage with narratives, emotions, and perspectives.
When we engage with fiction,
poetry, or imaginative writing, it ignites our creativity and enables us to
envision new worlds, characters, and ideas. It stimulates our imagination and
encourages innovative thinking, making reading a powerful tool for expanding
Both oral and visual
storytelling engage our senses, evoke emotions, and enable us to connect with
characters and their stories. Each medium has its own strengths in conveying
narratives and perspectives. If we as a society continue to embrace all forms
of storytelling—reading, listening, and watching—we gain a more comprehensive
understanding of diverse narratives and perspectives. This, in turn, enhances
our empathy, emotional intelligence, and our ability to see the world from
The key lies in recognizing
that different storytelling methods complement each other, providing a richer
and more immersive experience. So, whether it’s through reading, listening to
stories, or watching visual media, we should actively engage with all of them.
By doing so, we broaden our understanding, nurture empathy, and sharpen our
perspective and our thinking skills.