Saturday, 19 October 2013

Reading for Pleasure

Neil Gaiman gave the second annual lecture for The Reading Agency the other day. Miranda McKearney OBE, Founding Director of The Reading Agency said: "Tonight is part of an urgent debate about how to build a nation of readers and library users. Who better than the extraordinary Neil Gaiman to help us think through new solutions to the fact that for a wealthy country, with free education, we have a shocking literacy problem?"

Gaiman said: "I'm going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. I'm going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things."
He then spoke about 'the power of fiction to transform our understanding of the world and turn us into citizens': "The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy giving them access to those books and letting them read them."
He cited research by America's private prison industry, showing why reading fiction is so important: "I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons - a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth - how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based about asking what percentage of ten and eleven year olds couldn't read. And certainly couldn't read for pleasure. It's not one to one: you can't say that a literate society has no criminality. But there are very real correlations. And I think some of those correlations, the simplest, come from something very simple. Literate people read fiction."
Now please go back to Give a Book.


7 comments:

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  2. Reading for pleasure has the same benefits as reading for knowledge. When you think about it, there is pleasure in learning as well. I personally read a lot. Both fiction and non-fiction, and I have to say I enjoy everything I read. Especially, after reading research papers all day (I provide Phd Thesis Writing Service), a nice book serves as a source of pleasure.

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  5. In an age when one can watch a 10-minute video and learn anything, do we still need books? Yes, we do! Even a monkey can learn by watching. What good a human are you if you need a demonstration and can’t grasp a concept that is in the written form? Yet we see that all the time. Even the "writers" have abandoned books. I know many writers from whom you can buy script writing or any written content and they haven't read a book in years. That needs to change!

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  7. I think there is no harm in reading for pleasure. I provide Global Assignment Help and have clients all over the world. And whenever I talk to them about the reading culture, they all say the same thing – it’s dying all over the world. Given this situation, any effort to revive the reading culture is commendable. I am all in support of this initiative of building a nation of readers. I hope these efforts bring fruit.

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