Damn right I grew up on this show.
Seriously though, I have noticed that reading isn’t as popular or common as it once was. I see many adults and students have trouble or show no interest. Many people have told me they’d love to buy my books, but they don’t read. That’s rather frustrating and a little scary because reading is very important. Made me realize how often I talk about writing, but not the other side of the coin. After all, what would be the point of books if nobody was going to read them?
Now, what are some reasons people don’t read:
- Not Enough Time– This is incredibly honest and I totally understand. It shows a desire to read, but life is getting in the way. This is a struggle that I have, so I’ve done the best I can. My method is to read manga and graphic novels when my son is in an appointment or I’m waiting for his bus. Gives me about an hour to escape reality and they’re quick reads. A few pages before bed, an article while on the toilet, an ebook on your phone at lunch, or any number of methods can get a little in. Reading doesn’t always have to be a marathon.
- I Was Told *Insert Books* Don’t Count– This is heartbreaking and I think people should never do this to others. I said that I read manga and graphic novels because my schedule allows for them a bit easier than word-only novels. I’m still reading. People may say it doesn’t count, but it does. New vocabulary and ideas come across from the story. Relaxation and escapism has been achieved. It’s all good.
- School Turned Me Off to Reading– Sadly, this is a common one and I think it has merit. We’re forced to read a lot of things in school, which turns the action from a fun experience to a chore. Not every person is going to be into Shakespeare, Twain, or any book that is assigned. With the amount of reading required for school, you might not even have time to read for fun. This was a big problem for me in high school and I rebelled by focusing more on what I wanted to read instead of what I had to. Not a good choice, but I feared this excuse becoming my life. Only way to get over it is find a book you like and dive in to rekindle the interest.
- I Don’t Know How– We’d like to think this isn’t a real one, but it is. Could be that a person never learned and found ways to fake it through school. Might not have graduated at all. Could be that they can read in one language, but not another. I know this would be my excuse if I was handed a book in French. Learning can be difficult here, but it’s worth the effort.
The truth is that there are a wide array of excuses, so I can’t list them all here. I think reading is very important, which is why it’s going to be a focus for when I go into graduate school. We need it for everyday life. Can’t even watch TV without reading at times because you need to search for stuff on streaming services. A person may tell you what to look for, but the pictures might mean nothing without the words. You also have menus, road signs, people texting more than talking, and the list keeps going. There’s a reason we consider reading a basic skill. I’d even say it’s more essential than mathematics since you need to know how to read instructions and word problems to get those done. Reading always slips into things at some point.
Maybe we take reading for granted at times. It seems like such an easy thing to do once you learn it. We forget how much trouble we had as children and how we can still mess words up. All we can do is keep reading whenever we can and help those that might want to learn or improve. One could even say this is an important role for authors because we need an audience. Can’t get reviews and critiques in a world where nobody has the ability to read your story.