Beyond the Classroom
Read To Feed Your Mind
Sadly, it appears that more and more children would rather play game consoles than read. I recently reflected on my own reading habits and began to question the importance of reading.
According to the website, Wikianswers, reading, " Helps build your imagination and vocabulary. It also helps you to communicate well with others, both verbally and in writing". Also, many people argue that reading increases your chances of being successful later on in life as there are few jobs that don't require you to be able to read and write. If someone wanted to learn a new language, it is very important that first of all they have a strong grasp of their own language and how it works. These are just a few of the benefits of reading that come to mind. I asked a number of people, children and adults, about what their experience with reading was and what they believed were the main benefits of getting lost in a novel, a poem, or even a short story. Here is what they said.
Mrs Hunter, the head of Carluke English Department, had lots of great things to say about reading. She said that reading: "expands your mind, extends your vocabulary, keeps you company and is all in all an endless pleasure".
When we asked Miss Carswell, she was equally as enthusiastic about reading. She exclaimed her love for "building different settings in your mind, creating different worlds and imagining different characters, all from the comfort of your couch". She also loves the way that, "Books demand you to make predictions about what will happen next. In a way every book is a mystery until the last page". Like Mrs Hunter, Miss Carswell also recognised the skills that people can improve when they read such as being able to improve their vocabulary.
Miss Foote believes that reading, "Inspires your mind; allows you to visit other worlds; increases your vocabulary and communication skills as well as develops your imagination.
I even contacted the Head of Education in South Lanarkshire, Jim Gilhooly, to ask him about he thought about reading:
Thank you for your email which I read this morning. You don't tell me what age you are but because of your reference to your English teacher I will guess that you are in secondary school, possibly in first or second year.
Could I answer by giving you some idea of how reading has helped me throughout my life. First and foremost reading books that you are interested in is very enjoyable. Books can take you into a world of real and imaginary people and places and give you an idea of what life may be like in these different places or in different times.
Reading has also allowed me to learn, whether in school or at university or at work. As you move from class to class, from History to Geography to Science and to all your other subjects you will often learn through reading. This will not always be the case and sometimes you will learn by doing things, for example in PE or in
Music or in Art. However, even in these subjects, as well as developing your practical skills, there will be times when you will be asked to read about people who have taken part in their activity and taken it forward and made it better.
How much reading you do at work will obviously depend on what you do. However, it is worth noting that before you get into a job most companies will ask you to fill in a form and they will read this carefully before deciding whether to interview you and then employ you. There are few jobs where some training is not required and usually this is done through a combination of reading and practical work. For example to be a plumber you have to read about how pipes connect, how to fit certain products and how you can stay safe while you work but you also have to practise how to do all the things that a plumber needs to do.
I would also say that reading has been very helpful as part of my family life: it allowed me to share books and ideas with my children when they were younger and to help them with homework as they got older.
Overall I would say that reading is probably the single most important skill that any young person can learn. It will allow you to learn about all kinds of things and it is very important in improving your writing skills which will let you communicate widely.
I hope that you continue to work at your reading and that it helps you to become all that you want to be.
Carluke High School English/Classics Department.
Email Response from Jim Gilhooly Head of Education South Lanarkshire