Has Reading Vanished?

I hear “kids just don’t read anymore” all too often, mostly from teachers or parents. In a sense, this is definitely true. I certainly can say that I don’t fly through books the way I did all the way through grade school. This is partly because I don’t have as much time as I used to. I also must admit that there is a small part of me that lost interest. I spent so much time reading for school or for work that I forgot that it’s okay to pick up a book for leisure.

So, what am I doing instead of reading books? Pretty much the same things that a majority of other young people are doing, such as watching shows, using social media, and missing out on the joys of reading. There is an experience tied with reading that can never be replaced by anything else – absorbing information at your own pace, stopping to take notes, synthesizing nothing but text on a page, and being forced to visualize characters and scenes using your own imagination, or the smell of fresh pages.

It could be argued that in perusing the internet, we are still reading, which is true to an extent. However, a captivating article does not make you work the same way a long novel does. Its length cannot compare to the reading of a hefty novel which requires you to pick up details along the way and to be patient. The modern-day activities brought on by technology cannot replace reading a book, but I would like to argue that they can employ a lot of similar skills, and can be more beneficial than they may seem at first.

The reading of a clickbait article does not require the same strategic comprehension skills as reading a novel but binge-watching a television show might. While the images are given to you, there is still an element of observing and analyzing a story that is present in reading a novel. There are no physical annotations to be made; regardless, viewers predict, analyze, and rewrite stories using social media platforms. Because of social media, there’s an added level of connection and community when consuming and engaging with content.

One of reading’s most notable benefits is its ability to educate. Books, even if not intentionally informative, strengthen vocabulary and processing skills. The internet can make for an educational tool if used responsibly. In fact, it makes information more accessible for users who don’t have access to books and gives speakers a platform to share their experiences without going through the selective publishing process.

Fast-paced, modern-day hobbies brought on by the internet in no way replace the traditional reading experience, but many of the sentiments that come with reading have not been entirely lost.

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