Creating a generation of readers

Readers are getting scarce in our society. A handful of people you know are avid readers. Children, especially primary school students, are busy playing games on their parents’ smartphones. Schools also do not facilitate reading as they should have. There used to be a period of “library” in schools years ago when I was a primary school student. We all would sit in the library for 45minutes or so and read books that were of our interest. Newspapers and magazines were also available. Such a practice needs to be revived in schools and colleges.Reading is such an activity that enhances cognitive function, augments memory, develops focus, aids in vocabulary development, and helps us to absorb valuable content.
The habit of reading gradually became almost non-existent because of smartphones. Teenagers and adults preferred watching videos as reading took a backseat. The youth argue that they gain information by watching videos. It may be true but reading jogs the brain cells as the reader is compelled to go into deep introspection. This develops a curiosity that is curbed by thinking about the subject that is being read. A person’s mind is not questioning when watching a video, it is reacting to the visual images. On the other hand, the mind responds to the words we read. This response compels the mind to visualize the subject matter and inquire about it as we tend to dwell on the written word.
A mind that reads is open to question and to seek answers. It actively focuses on learning something new and absorb content that was unknown before. Libraries do facilitate such dissemination of content. Students can avail of the services offered by libraries at their schools, colleges, and universities. However, people, in general, need to connect with books.
Libraries in neighborhoods have become obsolete. There are public libraries but they do not promote themselves as avenues of learning. Students and teenagers must visit old book shops in DHA, Clifton, and Saddar area of Karachi to buy books on varying topics at an affordable price. People from all metropolitan cities may find such a shop in their city. The high prices of books repel the youth from making a purchase. They should use social media in this regard. There are numerous Facebook pages from where you can select books of your choice. The books are sent to you through courier and you pay cash on delivery. Such a system is beneficial for students who can buy books from their pocket money. Avenues are plenty if there is a will to read. While PDF books can be downloaded and read with ease, there is no other parallel to reading a book in its physical form. The art of reading is the science of learning. The subject, topic, and content you read become a part of your information that makes you learn new aspects of varying topics.
I coined the term ‘Mindwaves’ to teach the youth about the benefits of reading. Each word of Mindwaves stands for something. “M” is for the mental exercise we do while reading. “I” is for the inspiration readers get from reading various documents. “N” is for new ideas one generates while “D” signifies to develop conversational skills. “W” denotes to write better as readers become effective writers, and “A” is for accentuating perspectives, as reading allows us to focus on diverging viewpoints. “V” refers to vision and focus that you broaden through reading. “E” is for enhancing knowledge, and “S” is for skills development that you can learn by reading how-to articles.
The problem with the youth is that they perceive reading as a compulsion, and cumbersome activity. Reading can be a liberating activity as you take your mind off the world and enter into a different state of mind. Parents must ensure their children are reading a book of their choosing for at least thirty minutes. Schools must make it compulsory for students to spend time at the library and delve into books and literature. Reading differentiates those who are aware of themselves from those who decide to remain ignorant.

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