Reading is a wonderful habit. It is a kind of therapy, which can work wonders and act as a soothing balm to calm frenzied minds and frayed nerves. It is a stimulating tonic, which brings that distinctive qualitative change in the wholesome persona of the individual who takes to it just like a duck takes to water. Allied with it, it is also quoted that books are one’s best friends in life and this even when one’s real friends in life betray one. Books are always there even in one’s most difficult times and are very rightly hailed as human’s best soothe-mate.
Reading is a very good habit which not only increases knowledge but also improves language. It helps people in keeping themselves updated about the current issues and the present trends besides increasing their creativity and imagination. Spending some amount of time on reading helps individuals to gain perspectives about various topics and issues. Reading also helps people in communicating their ideas in different ways. It helps them to understand the actual picture. But unfortunately, reading habit is decreasing these days, especially among the new generation.
Even today reading is considered as one of the best past times for many people, though the advent of television and Internet has led to a certain negative impact on the minds of almost everybody, especially youth, teenagers and kids. And this in turn has resulted in the slow decline in the number of book readers.
In addition to this, other factors like compressed work schedules, lack of interest in reading printed material, invasion of irresistible electronic gadgets, high rates of books, exploration of other fancier options as outdoor activities comprising of biking, bowling and soon have also contributed to the fading of the reading habit among people.
Nowadays, people are more materialistic and they get little time to go through books, newspapers, and magazines. The chief goal of people is to earn money, and not acquiring maximum knowledge as their forefathers wanted to.
It is true in one sense that the habit of reading books is decreasing. Some people prefer to read online, even from mobile. They even download novels from the Internet on their mobile phones. Some others prefer to see the movie made out of a novel rather than reading the entire novel. Kindle and iPod are poised to change the reading habits even further. We may see students carrying an iPod to school instead of six to ten textbooks.
Few avid readers have surrounded themselves with many computer screens, one devoted exclusively to e-mail, one devoted exclusively to reading material, etc. They do almost all their reading—newspapers, text messages, e-mails, journal articles, and even books—on screen. Thus, computers and the Internet are changing the way people read. Thus far, search engines and hyperlinks those underlined words or phrase that when clicked take you to a new Web page—have turned the online literary voyage into a kind of U-pick island-hop.
Actually, there is far more in store. For example, take ‘Hamlet’. A decade ago, a student of the Shakespeare play would read the play, probably all the way through, and then search out separate commentaries and analyses. These days, there are sites like hamlet works.org which help visitors comb through several editions of the play, along with 300 years of commentaries by a slew of scholars. Readers can click to commentaries linked to each line of text in the nearly 3,500-line play. The idea is that some day, anyone wanting to study ‘Hamlet’ will find nearly all the known scholarship brought together in a cohesive way that printed books cannot.
Researchers believe that the reading experience online will be better than on paper. They are hoping to make reading on mobile phones faster and easier. Analysts expect mobile phones to evolve into a multipurpose ‘third screen’, along with televisions and computers displaying both pictures and text. A reading technique called Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) enables people to learn to read with good comprehension of up to 1,000 words per minute.
Though people find it awkward initially, they warm up to it rather quickly. It tends to take all of a person’s attention, but also increases reading speed dramatically. The system called Buddy Buzz knows to pause at commas or the end of sentences, just as most readers do. If readers miss something, they can skip back to the beginning of the sentence.
However, it is not technology alone which is keeping children from reading books. Children are not only preoccupied with modem gizmos, but are also under pressure to achieve in schools, which leaves them little time to enjoy a good book, whether it be fiction or otherwise. For mid-career professionals too, reading is today all about developing skills on the work-front that will help them grow in their careers. The world has become so competitive that reading just for the sake of it is a luxury for most.
With technology set to get only more sophisticated in future, there will never be the same amount of people who will sit down to read a book. There are others who point out that just as the advent of Gutenberg’s printing press did not signal the end of handwritten messages, so too computers and other technology will not wipe out the traditional habit of reading.