11-09 – Sue Moorcroft

Monday, October 8, 2018

Reading is Fun!

By: Marcia King-Gamble

Who would have thought that reading would become a lost art? I know that’s a strange thing for a writer to say.  I blame some of it on modern technology and this world of instant gratification. We want to get answers now.  Forget about savoring and enjoying the moment we're in.
Back in the day, we escaped the challenges of everyday living by immersing ourselves in books. Books opened for us a diferent world and exposed us to lives and cultures that were foreign to us. 
As a child, growing up on a small Caribbean island, it was my means of escape. I was exposed to places never before seen. Reading made me long to travel to all those places I’d never been.
On a small island where only the upper middle class had televisions, and reception was faulty, you had no choice but to read.  You spent precious minutes savoring the cover, holding that book to your heart, and pretending you were in that foreign country.

IPads and electronic devices didn’t exist back then, and even today, do they really trump the feel and smell of a good book?
 Years  ago,  when book signings were in vogue, and readers were excited about meeting authors, millennials (normally a smart  group)  would proudly tell me they didn’t read. Mind you, this was usually said while hustling through busy malls with a collection of shopping bags from upscale stores. It was often a sad moment for me, because it struck home that reading was indeed a lost art. Better to acquire material stuff than the knowledge a good book might bring.
More recently, I had the opportunity to do some work for an international airline. My role was to assist passengers at the kiosks preflight.  This was a relatively simple process that required me to assist those electronically challenged. It required reading the instructions and touching the screen.  
 To my amazement, I discovered that many adults simply couldn’t read. It wasn’t fear of technology that paralyzed them, but the inability to read the instructions.  Even the most buttoned down, briefcase carrying passengers were challenged.  
In doing my research, I discovered that 20% of adults in the nation’s capital still struggle with illiteracy, although most are way too embarrassed to admit it. The unfortunate truth is that several don’t possess academic skills beyond those of a middle-school student.
The National Center for Education indicates 19 percent of adults cannot read a newspaper, much less complete a job application. According to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, approximately 32 million adults in the United States can’t read.  Further, The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development claims that 50 percent of U.S. adults can’t read a book written at an eighth-grade level.   This is truly scary.       

 The inability to read makes life significantly harder for adults.  The Literacy Foundation says the consequences of illiteracy are as follows:

The unemployment rate is 2–4 times higher among those with little schooling than among those with Bachelor’s degree
Illiterate individuals are assured a lower income
They are destined to find lower-quality jobs
Their access to lifelong learning and professional development is reduced
They place themselves in a precarious financial position
They have limited ability to obtain and understand essential information
 There is greater likelihood that if little value is given to education and reading within the family, the cycle repeats itself in the next generation
 Low self-esteem is often a result, leading to isolation
 Illiterate individuals tend to have more workplace accidents, take longer to recover and misuse medication because they have trouble reading and understanding the relevant information (warnings, dosage etc.)
 This boggles the mind since there are many Literacy organizations out there willing to work with adults, and at no cost to you.  A good place to gather information would be your local library.

 Just think about how much more enjoyable that electronic device used for game playing would be, if you could read the instructions. How much more enjoyable life would be if you transport yourself to another world. And finally, what better way to relax and forget your troubles than reading a book on that electronic device, now a staple of life.

Yes, reading is fun.  What’s more it increases brain power, benefitting you in the same manner as a good run. Reading improves memory function by giving your brain a good workout. Why don’t we work out together? 

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Coming soon!

Marcia King-Gamble originally hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. 

She is a travel industry executive and a self proclaimed globetrotter. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned over 40 books. Her free time is spent at the gym, traveling, and with her animal family.

She loves hearing from you. or Like her on Facebook


Judith Ashley said...

Thanks Marcia for an informative post. I didn't realize our illiteracy rates in the US were so high. I'm wondering if anyone has done the research to determine how many of those people have some form of dyslexia. While reading has always been fun and easy for me, I know people with dyslexia and they don't have the same easy/fun experience. I can't even wrap my mind around reading not being easy if not fun.

Marcia King-Gamble said...

That's very insightful of you Judith. I suspect you are right about dyslexia being the culprit. Learning disabilities, as a whole may be the cause why reading is such a challenge.