How Popular is Reading?

Reading is something I’ve always enjoyed, and I still love it to this day. Here are my thoughts on how society views reading today, and how I viewed it growing up:

I used to think everyone liked to read. Why shouldn’t they? We always read at school. We read in groups, on our own, with our teachers. It was all about reading and writing, learning to spell, and memorizing phonics charts to learn how certain letters sound together.

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Photo Kathy Cassidy 6/2/14 © (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Besides all that, I read a lot at home, or at least on my own time. I got my library card when I was six, and if I didn’t have any books I wanted to read at my house, I’d go there and find what I liked. All of my friends loved to read, too. It was great! Pretty much all aspects of my life influenced my love for reading. It seemed that it was something everyone loved to do.

Then, as I got older, the people around me (my classmates in particular) started passing time doing other activities. Video games were starting to become more popular, and soon, it seemed everyone had some sort of game console, particularly, Nintendo ones. Sports were a hit, too.

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Photo Jason Lander 5/8/10 © (CC BY 2.0)

Everyone was starting to figure out the things they liked to do to have fun. As we grew older, sleepovers and other activities with friends took up a lot of our weekends. Other things were stealing our interests.

So, I thought that, while we all had other hobbies, we all still liked to read. After all, we were still young. Reading was certainly still fun to me. It was about this time when I’d start reading one of my favorite book series to this day. Still being in elementary school weren’t plagued by overbearing amounts of homework.

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Photo Kathy Cassidy 3/21/13 © (CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Plus, before we got into middle school, we had allotted times during the week where our whole class would go read in the library. It was still enough to convince me that reading was enjoyed by everyone in my life.

Unfortunately, the ugly truth became more apparent with age, and I realized that there are people who flat out hate reading. Moving up into middle school didn’t leave as much time for reading.

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Photo College Degrees 360 7/12/12 © (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Grades were suddenly our number one priority, we were introduced to final exams, and the weight of taking several different classes that piled on homework was heavy. For some people, the only reading they ever did was once every few months to get AR points for the quarter. It was honestly saddening. Suddenly, reading wasn’t a pastime anymore. It was a requirement for school. It was a burden.

Now, I believe society is unappreciative of literature. Of course, some people still adore reading, and to those people, I say, props to you, friend. You deserve a round of applause. However, a lot of focus in this day and age has shifted to social media. The “hierarchy” today isn’t as supportive of reading as it is of social media sites and the like. Several people in the honors English class I’m taking complain about having to read for class, because it’s “cool.” It’s especially sad to see great works, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, put down. If you don’t have in interest in reading, maybe you shouldn’t be in the class at all. For some, reading has been reduced to skimming the occasional newspaper article or magazine. It’s upsetting to watch society lose interest in reading, and for what? To waste their time trying to get more likes than others? Likes won’t get you into college, friend. Try picking up a book instead of your phone.

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Photo Emily Carlin 8/21/10 © (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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