Written by: Saad Shahid
Reading makes a man perfect. This is an old saying. It is widely believed that avid readers tend to have a better grasp on realities and are also better judges of people.
Reading habit has been a great help in developing knowledge. But in the modern digital age browsing the net, playing with funky handsets and passing non-stop SMS seem to be the order of the day. The internet boom, interactive medium of images, TV and the silver screen fill the minds of the modern youth and take away a major chunk of their free time.
Thus the reading habit in this global village, the world, is certainly under threat and demands quick fixing before it is too late. People across the mother earth are concerned as to how the growing generations will find time to read. Technology is taking control steadily over individual lives. Judging by the number of people who frequently visit libraries or who purchase books, it is clear that the reading habit is dying. For now only few people spend their spare time with books.
Benefits of reading are overwhelming. One of the greatest benefits of reading is that it helps build up vocabulary and enhance creativity of the readers tremendously. Educationists across the globe agree that avid readers generally have higher IQs and do better in examinations/tests compared to those who don’t.
The advent of Internet is often ascribed as one of the reasons for changing our reading habits. People are in a hurry. They are hard up and work at more places to earn more to take care of the kids. Jobs over, they clean the house, make dinner every night and get the kids to their schools or other activities. Thus millions of people round the globe don't have much time to spend with books.
Moreover people want to read things faster. They skim articles and other desired information on websites, most often inaccurate. They prefer information given to them in video form. All this is possible on Internet at minimal cost. Hence book sales are down, and Internet viewing is up.Simply they hop onto the Internet and scan newspapers/ e-book of their liking in no time at cozy corner of their house and sip tea or coffee unbothered. They find browsing much easier than reading. Thus many people don’t buy newspapers or magazines anymore. Newspaper readership is way down. Magazines and newspapers are going out of print. People are also turning away from books and newspapers for in recent years their prices have gone up several-fold.
Other common reasons attributed to the decline of books reading are listed below:
*Book reading consumes more time than referring in the computers.
* Purchase of money is over-ruled as people prefer to spend more money on essentials.
* Internet and TV are more attractive compared to book reading in a corner.
* People prefer carrying laptop instead of books for they believe they can access the desired information/materials with a single click.
* Now people are more concerned about earning money and finding ways to boost income to meet their basic needs.
* Many assert in this fast moving life that they do not find much time to read. Since everything has become instant, hence people have hardly any patience to spend with reading and learning books.
* In yester-years people used to discuss about what they had read which ultimately induced others to read. But today TV and internet occupy their discussions.
* Nowadays we find most people are bespectacled. Their eyes are easily strained. They find it easier to spend time on something else than on reading books.
*Decades ago a lot of magazines and books were kept on the table in houses for the use of parents as well as kids. They had time and there was no other time passing. But today the situation is different.
*Parents themselves should be exemplary to foster the habit of reading. When they do not show any interest in reading how can we expect the children to read?
*The intense competition in job-seeking system of education (in Pakistani context) has deepened insecurity among the middle class families discouraging the habit of reading books.
* In the present money-oriented life kids have to spend all their time in homework, tuitions and extra classes. How can one expect them to develop a reading habit?
* Our parents think that reading books will divert the attention of their children from serious tasks and goals of achieving high marks in examinations. Only high marks decide the future of their children. They have to work seriously on their school/college text books to get high marks. Hence for them reading books is a sheer waste of time!
* However, pundits hope “for resurrection of the habit of reading books” in the not so distant future. They firmly believe that a new medium does not spell death of an old medium. They stress on chalking out strategies to vigorously combat the decline in the reading habit.