To Read Or Not To Read Jessica Cloake Sunbury Manor School

Everyone has a hobby, whether it is dancing, knitting, or playing a musical instrument, it is these hobbies that help us identify ourselves within our society. For a lot of people this thing is reading. There are millions of different books in the world, and more and more being written every year. In America, in 1978, 42% of people had read eleven or more books that year. Sadly, in 2014, those statistics dropped to only 28%, with 23% of people not reading anything at all. So, why is reading beneficial to the people in our society, especially young people?

Since the birth of the mobile phone in 1973, technology has been increasing in intelligence at an astonishing rate. In 2022, there are more apps and social media apps than ever. For example, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Because of this growth in technology, companies are constantly fighting over the world’s attention, and thinking up new ways of making their sites more interesting. This means that the young people are being distracted by social media, and are running out of time for everything else. One thing that is suffering from this, is reading. Another reason why reading is becoming less and less popular, is that the prices of books are slowly increasing. With the world in its current situation, with climbing energy bills, and the price of living increasing, adults can’t justify buying a new book every single time the finish the last one. If adults can’t justify buying new books, then children and young people have no hope.

This deterioration in the popularity of reading can have detrimental affects on young people in society. According to ‘Step Up For Mental Health’, reading for just 6 minutes a day can improve your quality of sleep, reduce stress, and sharpen mental acuity. According to the manual health foundation, mental health problems affect around one in six children. This includes depression and anxiety. Reading is proven to reduce stress and anxiety. One platform that is helping to spread the message that reading is fun, is surprisingly one of the platforms that takes attention away from reading in the first place. There is a branch of Instagram that it’s followers like to call: Bookstagram. On this platform, people share images and videos reviewing and promoting their favorite books. Because this platform is part of a much loved and well used site, it is making reading increasingly popular to young people. This can undoubtedly have only positive impacts on the mental health of the young people.

Another thing that can be used to promote a love for learning, are libraries. Libraries are devastatingly under-utilized, and as a free source of literature, this is something that should be being promoted and advertised. It is a legal requirement for a council to spend money on the upkeep of a library in their area, which means that every area must have a library. If these libraries are full of used books, and the prices of brand new books are steadily increasing, then why are libraries not being used to their full potential? Another under-utilized way of digesting books, is audiobooks. Audiobooks are when a narrator reads out the books for you to listen to it. This method can be very productive and is a cheap way to access books as most audiobooks are not very expensive. There is also a way to access free audio books, with apps such as ‘Librivox’. Under UK copyright laws, once an author has been dead for 70 years, their work belongs to the public domain. ‘Librivox’ takes old books that are in the public domain, and turns them into audiobooks for free consumption on their mobile app. These are just some of the ways in which young people can access cheap or free books, and develop their love for reading.

Finally, reading should be being boosted by all platforms and by all people due to its stress relieving qualities. Some ways to do this could be for apps such as Instagram and YouTube, to boost creators who talk about the benefits of reading, and the books that they personally enjoy. There could be more advertisements about the whereabouts of local peoples libraries, and modern, popular books should be available in schools, in order to excite young people about the prospects of reading. Reading can only be a positive thing for young people, and it’s time that this became known.

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