Reading – not a waste of time

How many parents have told their children not to sit with their noses in books, How many people think reading is a waste of time? How many people are critical of the ‘trash’ that some read these days?

Anything that encourages children to read is worthwhile. Reading habits will change over the years and hopefully readers will discern what is good and what is mediocre. Some will enjoy what others deem to be lightweight and worthless, but it is still possible to learn about relationships and human behaviour generally by reading what has been termed Victorian dross and the chick-lit of today.

Steven Gambardella’s blog about Seneca and time prompted the development of a train of thought that had started after an ‘Exploring Literature’ meeting this morning. We are still reading The Divine Comedy by Dante and very conscious of the fact that we are merely skimming the surface. Yet, we do feel enriched by reading and discussing a text which we could spend endless time studying.

In his blog today, Steven Gambardella reminded his readers of the value of time spent reading

We accumulate knowledge over time, but books allow us to accumulate the time the writers have given us. Think of books as condensed time.

Time spent reading good literature is a means of absorbing knowledge that was gained over many years.

Distilled and compressed in the pages of books are years, decades and even centuries of knowledge and wisdom. If you read a good book, you are concentrating the time you have.

I would add that if children are reading whether it be comics, Harry Potter or Jane Austen – they will be learning. Boys in particular are very often reluctant readers so I would never discourage them from limiting their reading to comics. That isn’t time wasted. Reading is a habit that needs to be nurtured. They might one day find the joy of learning from more weighty works. Better to read the lightweights than never to read at all.