Guest post by Carol Perumal
READING is such an underrated activity these days that it pains me to see people not participating in it esp the younger generation. Reading is action. Even though it is done quietly and alone, reading is a profoundly social activity and a rigorously demanding one. There is nothing passive about reading: it requires attention, energy, and an act of will.
Reading makes things happen in the mind and imagination when stoked and flamed can yield greater ideas and solutions. Reading is an act of power and learning how to get the most out of its possibilities can also be an invigorating exercise. For all its association with quietness, solitude and the sedentary life, reading involves – at its deepest level – action and interaction.
To me, it increases my dopamine levels far more than any activity like playing games. I spend a major portion of my teaching time trying to motivate students to read ( and make it a lifelong habit) for it has hit me forcefully that without a reading skill one will fail to read the Word of God with understanding.
True, education is a rigorous training of the mind but we must not take the preciousness of reading so for granted that we fail to appreciate so little the kind of thinking that a complex Bible passage requires of us. I often say if you make interpretations from a complex Bible passage you can do so for all your other academic subjects. It is overwhelmingly clear to us the need to give our children a disciplined and rigorous training in how to think an author’s thoughts after him from a text esp a Biblical text.
An alphabet must be learned as well as vocabulary, grammar, syntax, the rudiments of logic and the way meaning is imparted through sustained connections of sentences and paragraphs. An understanding of any passage requires rigorous thought and mental effort.
We would have failed our younger generation if we hadn’t brought them up to appreciate reading and mentor them to stick to it even when exams are over. Of course, I am very aware of the many problems associated with difficulties in reading and word association that have hampered students from progress because a deficiency in mastering a language is almost akin to a block in academic growth. Hence I aim to apply concepts learned in educational Neuroscience as well as work with the specialists in this field to help those students. But the larger population of young people blessed with a brain that can read normally – what are you doing about inculcating a lifelong habit of reading?