Just like muscles, the brain benefits from a good workout. When you read you have more time to comprehend, think and gain insight. When you watch a movie or listen to a tape the mind does not pause to reflect unless you press pause. The benefits of reading are keeping your memory sharp, your learning capacity moves quickly and your mind basically opens up. A lot of young people don’t know how important reading is. As a result when they leave high school and enter universities they are at a disadvantage because of their poor marks in English.
If they are fortunate enough to get accepted, either they can’t write and read properly or even speak English fluently. Even aspiring journalists find no interest in reading, whereas it should be part of their lives to help them with their writing skills. Dr Alan Weimann, former head of the Department of Media Studies at Walter Sisulu University, says: “I always tell my students that if they want to be good journalists I cannot see how they can cope without reading. When you are not exposed to reading activities you lack broad general knowledge. Reading online is not as effective as reading print.”
He said to understand and be able to assist the students you’ve got to go back and see where the problem originates. If pupils were not taught to read properly in primary school the foundation was not laid and this resulted in a deficit of language proficiency. To improve these pupils should make a conscious effort to read. A literate mind is a more complex one, there’s a richness that reading gives. It increases your vocabulary and improves spelling. It also forces you to look at words that we might not have seen or heard. When you read you become more familiar with texts and you become so much better in picking up errors.
Thabo Mongoato, who started reading at a very young age, says; “It is difficult for me to remember a time when I did not have a book to read. I grew up in a home that was full of all types of books, magazines, newspapers and all sorts of novels. This had a profound influence in my formation years and gave me an edge in life and most importantly my school work.”
Thabo adds: “Reading helped me to obtain good grades; I gained valuable knowledge, I had answers to things that my classmates could not begin to understand. Reading has opened worlds and opportunities that are still closed to those who find reading tedious.” Thanks to the technology you can find good articles on the internet. It’s easy to read a quote or an article for a few minutes and then stop and continue with what you were doing.
Dr Sheryl Maastricht, an educational psychologist, says: “Parents should read to their children from a very young age. When kids grow up in an environment where reading is a daily routine they get used to it and grow with it. When kids see their parents reading and enjoying it they also grow to love reading. Parents should also restrict their children from watching too much television as this distracts them from their books.”
But when you invest in reading a good book you end up at least a few hours reflecting on its content as you read. Hence, it is likely to stay with you for a longer time and have a positive influence on you. According to Mr Sive Mlamleli, a teacher in reading, said he has encountered some difficulties when dealing with learners who have poor grammar. “As a teacher, I have found that children who have poor reading habits are poor readers, spellers, and writers themselves; and their grammar is atrocious! They speak well enough but that’s neither here nor there.”
Mlamleli adds: “Many of the children who do not cultivate the habit of reading cannot visualise words, hence, they become poor spellers, and their vocabulary is very limited. But it is such a struggle to get them to be interested in reading.” Don’t underestimate the power of reading it is strong and potent. It is never too late to start a good habit. – WSU-SNA
Contribution & Photograph: Chuma Mxo