As I check the news online, I think I am the exception as I skip most of the video clips and seek out the written content. For our company, we are filming short informational videos about our Spanish program because it’s visual, quick, and easy to receive the information this way. This is helpful as we are all busy and can get more done in a day without having to stop and read. But…what are the consequences of most of us reading less?
For the older half, one of our bigger concerns these days is our brain health. Our bodies are living longer and our brains can’t keep up so the quality of our longevity may be compromised. (Interestingly, learning a foreign language is one of the best things we can do to improve our brain health…but that’s an article for another day). My sister and I shared a room growing up and we still vividly recall our nightly quarrels because I was reading and refused to turn off the light. I recall driving through the Redwood Forest on a family trip and my father being justifiably frustrated with me because my face was buried in my book instead of on the wonders around me. Yet even for me, a long-time bookaholic, I’ve noticed that I’m reading less than I used to.
But if someone like me is reading less, what about the younger half? Kids today watch videos for everything. Could they read and understand an instruction manual if they had to? I remember my nephew, now 22, disliked reading when he was in elementary school and struggled with it. He wouldn’t read the stories in school and his parents were concerned. But, in second grade, he came across the TIVO manual and read it in one sitting. That was a turning point in my nephew’s reading development. I wonder if this would happen today. Kids now watch how-to videos. Would it occur to them to read instructions? Would they even incidentally come across the printed instructions to spark the natural curiosity that kids so wondrously have?
I still like the feel of a book in my hands and the smell of a library. I wonder if my kids know what a library smells like. If they do, I’m sure they would tell me that I’m weird or just old for liking it.