Reading is part of my daily routine. As a writer and a lover of stories, reading is like brushing my teeth, but it last a lot longer, of course. Maybe a better analogy is comparing it to eating: it must be done everyday in order for me to survive. Being realistic, reading has become a habit for me, and a healthy one. It is equal to eating my fruit and vegeables daily for required nutrients. However, back in the day as a child and teenager, reading was boring and tedious. Movies, in which are still a apart of my entertainment, was where I obtained my stories, if there was one. What makes people unattracted to reading? More over, what draws people to reading, fiction and/or nonfiction?
Once upon a time I had to force myself to read. Perhaps this was because reading and what I should read was indeed forced on me. It felt more as an obligation to read this and that rather than the enjoyment of learning and venturing into a fictional world with unique characters and story, or reading a selected nonfiction book. My attention span was not always the best and it still is not. Imagination is supposed to be a huge part of childhood. It was and is a huge fraction of my life and who I am as a writer and person. Being imaginative helps me and others see and do things they other wise could not and perhaps would not. ideas derive from imagination, and my imagination brought me to love reading and writing. First, focusing on children and their issue with reading made sense, but then the idea of including adults barrier to reading made better sense. After all, it is the adults who inspire kids to read. However, maybe the kids inspire adults to read (rare, but not impossible). Actually, the combination of both seems more ideal. Only he or she, young and older, know their imagination and what reading for enjoyement is. Imagination, interest, and comfort are just three aspects which motivate a person to read.
Imagination is a secret weapon that people forget about as they age. It might be considered as childish to have an imagination as one grows into teen and adulthood. Others see using the imagination as an escape, and the center for innovating ideas and to facilitate a person’s writing only her or his brain could imagine (a person’s imagination is his and her own, and no one can take that away or steal from it, except in fantasy and science stories). Even in nonfiction, imagination has assisted my mind to consider concepts and ponder new ideas.
Reading makes me happy, cry, angry, inspires me, makes me critically think about what I am reading, myself, and life in general as opposed to falling asleep to a book that does not capture my interest. Sure, there are important things people should probably read, despite having to force their way through it, such as books about history, geography, and science. Knowledge is power as the old saying goes. Even within the history and science books, one will find one book’s words more captivating than other history or science books. In school, students are asked or required to read one or more specific text. This is great if the content is able to hold their attention and help them learn. But what if they find the material tedious and boring? This must mean they are not putting in any effort to read and think critically. This is not necessarily true at all. Another book might be better fit for them to read and to provoke their critical thinking of the material. Some people prefer liver others despise it. Some people eat eggs for their protein source while others eat beef or chicken. People obtain their protein differently. Similarly, people obtain their knowledge differently.
Reading in comfort, or where one can concentrate without distractions, will make reading more enjoyable. With people having insane schedules, reading might mean reading while waiting for an appointment, in the bathroom, or in a hotel room. For some kids, reading might be associated with their peers and peer pressure. In other words, if reading is perceived as uncool and is not part of the norm, kids will more than likely hesitate to read, at least where they know their friends can see them. Reading for enjoyment is definitely something that needs to be shared among people as a whole, both young and older, in the home environment and outside of the home environment. When this happens, reading will become more comfortable, because the thought of it not being the “cool” thing to do will fade.
There are other things to consider when regarding why people do not like to read. For instance, having an organized schedule to read at certain times and for certain periods of time will help. Changing places to read and resting in between (reading for fifteen to thirty minute intervals) may prove helpful. Questions such as what genre the person likes, fiction or nonfiction,or a mix of both might be considered. Where is that silent place to read? There are all kinds of excuses to not liking to read, but these are obstacles, which can be conquered.
On the contrary, there are arguments about the benefits of reading outside the comfort zone. For example, after a full days of travel and ascending a mountain slope, I set up my tent and wanted to go to sleep. Tired and sore, I forced myself to read out of my comfort zone. I do think I would have got more out of it if I had been less exhausted, but I read nonetheless. Then there is the toilet reading that I cannot adjust to. The lesson of reading out of the comfort zone might be that it makes the person a more confident reader, and creates more comfort zones in the long run. I see it as meditating in an awkward place, where I am a bit shy of what people who see me think of my bent posture or who might be judging my practice (could be my imagination). For example, practicing zen among a majority of Southern Baptists will make practicing it easier elsewhere.
Below are a couple of articles about imagination and reading. Enjoy.