The Value of Reading


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Slide 1

From an article by by Larry Greider Click to advance> The Value of Reading

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"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body" Sir Richard Steele. Sadly, more and more people today are giving up the printed word in favor of being entertained and informed by the talking head and crystal clear imagery of the ever-larger TV set that sits as a throne in the center of their living space.

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“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” Mortimer J. Adler A recent news story noted that more and more infants are being subjected to TV programming, perhaps as a babysitter.

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“To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.” A C Grayling More than two hours of TV time per day are now a part of infant development, generating physiological and mental problems that are of growing concern among experts.

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“A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.” Abraham Lincoln At the very least, young people will learn how to process information in a much different way than those of other generations.

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“To read a writer is for me not merely to get an idea of what he says, but to go off with him and travel in his company.” Andre Gide Reading encourages thinking, reflecting and the cultivation of truth, but image-driven cultures tend toward subjectivism, superstition, hedonism and propaganda.

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“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.”  Dr. Jane Healy cautions, "Too much television—particularly at ages critical for language development and manipulative play—can impinge negatively on young minds in several different ways including the following:"Higher levels of television viewing correlate with lowered academic performance, especially reading scores. Abraham Lincoln

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“If you can read this, thank a teacher.”  Anonymous teacher This may be because television substitutes for reading practice, partially because the compellingly visual nature of the stimulus blocks development of left-hemisphere language circuitry.

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“The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.”  Anthony Trollope A young brain manipulated by jazzy visual effects cannot divide attention to listen carefully to language. Moreover, the ‘two-minute mind' easily becomes impatient with any material requiring depth of processing"

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“The ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.”  Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1964 Neil Postman, media critic and author of some great books, pointed out the ways that reading teaches us to think in a logically connected way. It cultivates a sustained attention span. Readers learn to think in terms of abstract ideas, objective truth and sustained reflection.

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“You're the same today as you'll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Charlie "Tremendous" Jones When this is replaced with graphic imagery, like television (especially commercials) and movies, there is a tendency toward shorter attention spans and a purely emotional response to what is offered. Once addicted to graphical stimulation, there is an increased demand for constant, entertaining stimulation that can hinder the capacity for delayed gratification.

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“Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”  Edmund Burke If you want to prepare yourself for great achievement and have more to contribute, try reading more books. Pick up some of the great classics and search for well- researched material that can help you grow.

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“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”  Confucius The piano instrumental piece that has been playing from slide one is a movie theme called A BEAUTIFUL MIND by James Horrner and Jim Brickman.

Summary: the more you read, the more you learn