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Reading Is a Skill for Life's Activities


Why should a person put a lot of time and effort into learning to read well? On the road of life, reading is a skill that smooths the way for many adult activities. Learning, both in school and on the job, requires reading. So does assembling various items used in everyday life. Reading for pleasure, personal and with people that you love, is a joy.

In academic life, reading quickly and well helps advance learning. College instructors give lectures, have group activities, and show videos. They also assign reading, a lot of reading! In some classes such as biology, psychology, sociology, and history courses, over a hundred pages of reading can be assigned in a week. When you have multiple classes that are heavy on reading, it is a learning nightmare if you cannot read quickly and well. While a lot of information can be gleaned from in-class work, most professors will share that material from the book must be read. It is foundational and will be on the test. If you cannot read well, what happens to your learning?

Many jobs require training. Reading effectively improves training outcomes. In one large company that I worked for, gaining a highly paid technical job required passing a 40 hour test. In a five day work week, each of us individually taught ourselves assorted technical information. There was no team learning. Each person was working solo. From 8AM to 5PM we read about subjects ranging from basic electricity to computer logic to various number systems, in addition to other subjects. When we felt competent in a subject, we tested on it. Less than 90% correct was not passing. In fact, if a candidate made less than 95% two times in a row, he or she washed out. The maximum time to test was 40 hours, and scores improved based on how much less time that a candidate took to complete the testing. Only the highest scoring candidates were even considered for the job. Can you imagine the advantage reading well gave me in this situation?

When you need to put something together, reading allows you to build it more quickly, without those annoying rebuilds. There is always something to put together at home. Reading the directions, which are often incompletely or incomprehensibly written, is important. There is a fair amount of deciphering that goes on when you are trying to build something from a kit. I remember my husband building an oscilloscope and all of the reading that went with that. However, for sheer terror and stress, nothing competes with having to put toys together for a special occasion. From bicycles to the Ninja Turtles toys, my husband and I tested both our reading skills and our marital bonds when our children were growing up. The bonds held, and our reading skills helped us successfully assemble toys at breakneck speed in the early morning hours before our boys woke. Would we have fallen in our kids' eyes if we were not able to put those toys together?

Reading can be a personal adventure when you are reading for pleasure. As you read to children and older adults, there is pleasure in that activity when you read well. I won't lie to you. A lot of the books that I read are escapist fiction. They take me away from reality and let me live adventures that my old body just couldn't handle right now. However, I also enjoy reading to other people. When I had a classroom, I read to my students on a daily basis. It was a joyful time for all of us. Creating voices for characters is something that I find rewarding. That skill developed when I was reading to our children and day-care kids back in the olden days when the world was young. It held me in good stead when I read to my mother-in-law as she was in the last stages of Alzheimer's. Making the reading dynamic helped her relate to it. My husband also spent many hours reading to his mother. She loved the sound of his voice. Your voice can be a pleasure to others as you read to your loved ones throughout their lives. How have you been able to give others pleasure with your reading?

There are far more reasons to read than an article can enumerate. Reading is a skill and practicing helps the skill develop and grow stronger. We can practice in our everyday lives and make our world a richer place.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Connie Mistler Davidson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Connie Mistler Davidson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Connie Mistler Davidson for details.

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