Yes, there is a reason why there aren’t any pictures in this post. Keep reading to find out. Just thought that I would let you know, so you won’t click away…
If you remember my post on classroom participation a while back, you may remember someone that I had talked about that I’d nicknamed Master Mentor II, as Master Mentor (the first) was a different person who had given me valuable advice on dating. Well, here is another little snippet of information from him that made me do a double take on society.
In today’s society, what with it being filled with electronics, technology, and gizmos, people are often sucked into their own little worlds and pay little or no attention to their environment around them. There is little time for the traditional pastimes that people enjoyed before the mass production of the smart phone, social media boom, and Internet age. Things such as going outside, actively finding real-life friends rather than just another Facebook friend, and creating new things, and possibly even thinking, are now considered old-fashioned or falling behind at the least.
Sadly to say, this includes reading.
While wandering in my little world one day (I think it was a Friday), Master Mentor II showed me an article on the decline in the reading ability of today’s teens. Although I can’t remember the correct link to the article right now (and I am really sorry for that), I was amazed to find several more articles on the same subject, like this one, as I had thought that the issue of limited reading wasn’t a huge problem. It seems to me as if I had been living a lie all along… (just kidding).
What’s more is that not only teens but the majority of society similarly seems to shy away from books with no pictures, several complex plots in each of their chapters, and an introductory analytic essay, prologue, and epilogue.
It’s kind of sad. I really had more hope in society. I mean, I used to read a lot, and my friends did too (not bragging- you should have seen our reading competitions). In elementary school, we had a reading program called Accelerated Reader, and every time you finished a book, you would take an online comprehension/vocabulary quiz and earn points depending on how well you did and how hard the book was (defined by the number of pages, reading level, etc.). After reaching a certain number of points, you would rise up in level, from 1 to 8, and levels would restart after surpassing 8. My best year has got to be in fifth grade, when I had reached level 8 about four times that year and was the top reader in my grade (possibly in the whole school, as in the sixth grade the AR program wasn’t enforced as much because they assumed that you were already a good reader). You could have gotten trophies back then for reaching level 8, so I got four just that year. Still have them, but my elementary school now, due to the economy’s decline, is no longer able to give out trophies. So I was lucky.
Anyway, people just don’t like reading as much as they used to. At least one picture must be present in the given text before any reading can be done easily. No SAT vocabulary can be used, as this would complicate things even further.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that you’d really want to click away now because I didn’t put any pictures at all in the post. This is the reason why I left out the images- to test your endurance. I would be really surprised if you had lasted this long without thinking, “Pfft. BOR-ing!” Here, have a virtual cookie if you’ve done so. And if you wish to continue, sorry, I will still not post any images in the post. To test you.
Back to the topic. It seems that whatever little reading that people do these days is mainly comprised of instruction manuals on how to set up their kids’ iPhones or online how-to’s of how to write their resumes. All reading seems to only be that of selections, texts, or samples that directly apply to our lives and what we need at the moment. There doesn’t seem to be any reading “for fun” anymore. Don’t believe me? Ask your child why they’re reading “Oliver Twist” or “Where the Red Fern Grows” in the first place. I’m sure that they can explain perfectly.
Still, there are a few who would love to read for fun. If you ever want to read, you should read things that have a good life lesson in them, as not only do they teach you something great about life and offer a fresh perspective on things, but they can fulfill the need for a purpose to read- to dispel boredom.
So here are some types of books that I suggest that you read, and some that you shouldn’t. Keep in mind that this isn’t a specific list, and it’s only my opinion, but try and see where I’m going.
Classics- A definite yes, although I’m sure that there are some exceptions. There always are exceptions. My personal favorites are ones about future anti-utopias. Books such as Orwell’s 1984 and Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 are a definite yes for me, as they speak of the essence of the uniqueness and creativity of society being a necessary component in people’s lives.
Science Fiction- Novels? Yes, like Wells’ War of the Worlds. Comics? Only when you really need something to fill time.
Satires- I’ve only read one, Orwell’s Animal Farm. So not much opinion on this area, but a light yes.
Books about Life Problems- Not really, as I find that many are repetitive and relate to many of today’s problems. Too depressing. And I feel that you really can’t connect to the themes unless if you’ve been through the same scenarios. In that case, go ahead.
Comics- Again, only as a filler. This means all anime, sci-fi, etc. Even political comics in the newspapers, as you would be better off forming your own political opinions rather than seeing another’s view, although this may be a sensitive subject, so I’m not going on further…
Textbooks- For all of the students I know who have left their novels home and are forced to read their textbooks and planners- don’t do that forever. Please.
Picture Books- Seriously? Unless if you’re in the toddler range.
Fantasy- Harry Potter and a few other books with chapters are all that I recommend. Otherwise, I really think that they’re slightly similar to comics.
Romance- For you lovers and hopeless romantics out there, I’m sorry to say that many of the things in the books described are not realistic. Don’t try looking for your Prince Charming any time soon.
Reference Books- Again, like the textbooks, only as reference materials.
Magazines- If they are interesting to you and you long for them badly enough, go for it, but again I would really prefer my own views, unless if you’re looking for inspiration.
Ernest Hemingway novels- I have separated these from the rest as I have often heard from students that Hemingway’s books are harder to comprehend. Read them. Seriously. If you go out more and do some of the things that his characters do, you’ll probably get all of the little jokes scattered around his novels. They do have a pretty deep view on life, but only if you truly understand them.
There are, obviously, more categories, but this should cover a few for you to see what I’m getting at.
Read books with themes that aid you later on in life. Life lessons are more beneficial than pictures, instructions without emotion behind them, and banal chatter without any deep discussions.