City of Winnipeg | Libraries

The Case for Reading

By Ranjan

I know what you are thinking- Ughh, another article about reading. I get it, reading is important or something. Yes, I am not the first, nor will I be the last, to encourage reading, but I think that a perspective from a fellow teenager can be helpful. As young people, we often become busy quite busy, and things like reading can seem like a small thing to give up in order to meet our duties on a daily basis. But I also think that it is important to think about all aspects of a situation before coming to a decision. So read on, and let me explain.

Reading, at least to me, is important because it allows us to recognize the world around us. Yes you may not be learning about magical powers at a wizardry school like Harry Potter, but chances are you still deal with Draco Malfoys in your daily life, or have learned the power of friendship through your own Ron Weasels and Hermione Grangers, or have faced challenges that seemed like giant snakes or He Who Shall Not Be Named. It can be kind of refreshing after a long day to read about characters that have had even longer days (so to speak). It really helps put things into perspective, and makes whatever things that happens during a day seem like small pebbles in comparison. You are made to think, what would you do if you were in one of those situations? Why? Thinking about these questions can help you think about the questions in your life, which can help you to have a better and calmer approaches to situations. In a really good book, you can see yourself as the main character, or see him as someone that could be your friend. Reading a book like that is like talking to a good friend.

But in a world where we have so much technology, why not watch the stories on a screen, or look at a funny meme on the internet instead? Again, I could tell you about how research has shown that using too much technology can have a bad effect on our brains, or eyes, but my reasoning is even simpler than that. When you watch a story, you do not have to do too much work to understand it. But at the same time, you do not have the chance to picture parts of the story for yourself because it’s already given to you. You are forced into a restricted narrative, which, if you ask me, is actually quite suffocating. You already get up in the morning and have to follow what your parents, teacher, or other adults tell you. Of course these people have your best interest in mind, but it is always nice to do something that gives you a little bit of freedom. By watching a movie instead of reading the book, you are giving another adult somewhere in California the chance to tell you what to think. When you read, it is up to you whether “red” means the color of a fire truck, or like a raspberry. When a book says a character was “happy”, you get to decide whether she was happy like you are on Christmas morning, or like when it is sunny outside. In more complex books, the language (words) becomes better at describing a scene with a lot of detail (called imagery), still you get to decide how a scene looks in your head, in a way that is not so different than the other examples.

Practically, reading can also help you become better at school. Teachers like to make their classes easy to understand by using examples, and often these classes will be related to books, especially in English class.  English teachers say that reading helps you notice punctuation, develop your own ideas, and become better in class. Everyone wants to do as good as they can in a class, and reading is one way to be your best. When you find the best book, it can be an easy task that does not even feel like its work. If you have a good book, you may become so involved in your reading that you cannot see how something so fun and enjoyable could help you so much in class.

And if you have come this far, you have already read about 700 words. That wasn’t so bad, was it? All I ask is that you give it a try. With so many books available at the Winnipeg Public Library, all it takes is for you to come down, pick something up, and if you do not like it, it is very easy to trade it for something else! The amazing library staff will be more than willing to help you out. So read. You won’t regret it.

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