14 August 2012

Why Read?

A lot of people that I know wonder why I take the time and effort to read, especially full length novels. After all we live in the information age where you can access most anything at the touch of a button. If you want facts you google them, if you want a story you switch on the Tv and watch a film, why bother reading.

Another thing that people wonder, or at least they used to, is why I'm clever. Which, without trying to be big-headed I am. I have a fairly wide natural affinity for academia. In my GCSE's I achieved consistently well across the board, and at A-level my grades only dropped because I didn't have the habit of the final push of revision as I'm essentially fairly lazy, I would like to point out I did do work throughout the year and my grades were still very good. 

The thing that these people don't realise is that reading MAKES you clever. It's a skill which requires multiple parts of your brain to be heavily active at the same time. Your brain has to process words very quickly and turn them into images, and you usually don't realise it's doing this, by doing this for longer periods of time you increase your ability to concentrate and remember things, you expand the bits of your brain that you're able to use and you become brainy.

Not to mention the fact that in novels, especially the one's written by previous generations you pick up words, turns of phrase and writing techniques which allow you to turn something essentially mundane into something top-grade. I'm forever spouting words which I have to explain to those around me and the reason for this is that I've read a wide variety from a fairly early age, in fact at one point I would use a pencil to correct the grammar and spelling within books I read, I've outgrown that one.

The reason I read however is not that it made me clever, that's just happy chance, it's that it offered me an escape. At school, primary school more than secondary, I felt persecuted and lonely. I was an individual child, I coped well with spending time alone, I still do, but I still felt lonely. Books offered me an escape, I could join the characters in adventures around the world, and not just around this one!

By reading I created some lifelong friends. They are the truest friends because they'll never desert me. I've created memories, what does it matter that some're memories based on fiction, I experienced the battle of Dros Delnoch as well as Druss who died there. I created real memories too, mostly they involve being remonstrated by teachers for spending too much time reading or reading too much by a particular author. 

My mum taught me to read, and by doing so she granted me my freedom. It may not be for everyone but I'm glad she taught me, it's given me so so much. I love reading, I'll teach my children to read when I have them, and hope they enjoy it, because the enjoyment of books is the greatest gift I feel I'll ever be able to give.

So tell me; Why do you read? Who taught you? Do you share my belief it's the greatest gift that can be given? What memories, experiences and gifts has reading given you?



  1. I think I properly learnt to read at school but apparantely I refused to read because the reading scheme books were boring and I wanted to read other stuff! We also have my home school diary from around yr1 where my mum had written to my teacher that I spent the whole day in ned reading! Something I still love doing today! :D

    1. My mum told me I took to reading early, apparently the district midwife came to give me a check up as a small baby and I knew a lot more words than most children did, but then my mum's always liked reading too :)