[Podcast] How to Become a Better Reader
Have you noticed the shift from reading novels, newspapers, and research papers to watching 2-minute videos or skimming 280-character tweets?
If you’ve got a student in the house, you might’ve seen them use tools like ChatGPT, the latest AI wonder, to draft their college papers. It’s like a quick jump from A to Z, bypassing the entire traditional writing journey.
The world’s rapidly leaning towards the quick and efficient—but are we paying attention to what we might be losing in the process? Let’s discuss.
Same Problems, New Platform
Picture this: It’s circa 2000, and Jimmy finds an online ad for someone willing to write his college essay for him. Fast forward to 2023 and he may be tapping into generative AI to write his thesis. Avoiding tedious tasks isn’t a new-age concept; the means have just gotten fancier. But we can’t ignore one critical question: Do age-old educational methods like essay writing still hold value? If reading or writing is all about that shiny grade or pleasing someone, naturally, we’ll opt for the easiest route. If we expect someone to put in the effort, they need to understand and value the deep, personal growth that arises from genuine engagement with literature and the act of writing.
The Inherent Value of Reading & Writing
Have you ever realized the marvel that is reading? The mere act of interpreting symbols on a page transformed our brains and how we process information. While a dramatic movie scene or a touching podcast can tug at our heartstrings, reading allows for a more profound, introspective experience. For instance, reading promotes more analytical thought compared to the reactive emotions often evoked by videos or audio. Yes, platforms like YouTube are fantastic to watch a quick DIY or a recipe, but they can’t replace the in-depth comprehension achieved by reading. And learning to write? It’s less about the grades and more about personal growth. For homeschooling families, this presents a golden opportunity to focus on genuine life skills, minus the pressures of conventional grading.
Rekindling a Reading Habit
It’s hard to convince a child that reading is so important or enjoyable when they never see you doing it. We get it; life happens, and before you know it that enticing book on the shelf gathers dust for months. If you’re looking to jump back into the reading wagon, here are some nifty tricks that have saved us:
- Re-reading is still reading! Dig out those old favorites and relive some of your fondest reading memories.
- If the act of reading requires focus, audiobooks could be a game-changer—especially with a compelling narrator and a background activity like knitting or walking.
- Constant notifications from apps distracting you? Use app blockers to keep just your Kindle app running.
- Short writings, be it captivating essays or soul-stirring poetry, often act as perfect jump-starters (and give you a sense of completion in one sitting!)
- If you’re into physical books, ensure you have a cozy reading spot with just-right lighting.
The transition from traditional reading and writing to a world dominated by short-form media and tech tools has its perks and its pitfalls. It’s essential to remember that while technology offers ease, the depth, introspection, and personal growth that come from engaging with reading and writing are irreplaceable. As we gear up for the future, striking the right balance between efficiency and depth becomes even more important for fostering personal growth and preserving the timeless joys of reading and writing.
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