Sunday, January 23, 2011

Is reading a bad habit?

'Neeya? Naana?' ( you? me?) is a tamil debate program telecast on Vijay TV every Sunday in Prime slot. The debate show is ably managed by journalist turned TV anchor Gopinath . Two teams are divided on a topic. The topic this week was on the merits and de-merits of ‘Reading’

There was a parent who talked about the de-merit of reading and she said she discouraged her son from reading story books or comics. Reading story books she felt corrupted young minds and hence discouraged her second standard son from reading. She wanted to be a role-model for her son and hence she too stopped reading novels.

Another teenage girl (college student) said she too does’nt read magazines or books since books corrupted her mind and she felt reading books and novels would encourage her to fall in love .

Another participant considered reading is a waste of time and money. Money should not be spent on books.

I was surprised to find that many parents wanted their children to study only curriculum based books and focus only on school/college texts and not on any external reading material.

Opposing this, I find schools and some parents like me encouraging to read material other than prescribed texts. I tell my children to read classics and when they read school texts, I tell them to parallely open “tell me why’ and encyclopedia to refer, so that they can correlate their school studies with the world around them.

My children’s school has DEAR time(Drop Everything And Read). Every body has to drop everything and start reading during this hour, including the teacher and the principal.

(My son at the well stocked Secunderabad club children's library)

Schools,Leisure stores and book libraries around the city encourage children and elders to read more with programs like sustained Silent reading(SSR) and readathons ( marathon reading competition).

In today’s electronic age when reading has taken a back seat , It’s surprising to find people considering ‘Reading’ story books , novels and comics as a crime.

I consider reading to be a life skill teacher and books a good friend and companion. It teaches values like humility, tolerance, patience and calms your mind apart from encouraging you to be a good visualiser,thinker and enhancing your language skills. These are qualities on decline today.

We friends used to borrow, share and read books from library. Reading still fascinates me and of course there are good and bad in every walk of life. Judge the book and read.

At the end of the show an eminent writer Ramakrishnan who judged the show said that Reading is a virtue . Children grow listening and reading stories which enhances their thinking skills and vocabulary. Strong minds don’t get corrupted by reading books and the art of story telling is an ancient art and each country has its legends and folk tales which describe the culture and lifestyles of that particular region.

Definitely, I consider reading a good habit. Let me know, What are your thoughts?


  1. I love reading ... from fiction , not-fiction to magazines to newspapers to blogs.. I love them all :)

  2. Very well written piece...
    The ideas contained within SSR, and DEAR are great to be included and followed by all...

    Reading is a window to the world...a door...

    love this topic

  3. As you mentioned,reading does us good like increasing our ability to concentrate,visualise,question,ponder,and what not.Certainly reading is no crime.Just because nowadays few books have abusive language and more romance than the story itself doesn't mean all books are bad.
    And btw,even the text books have errors in them.

  4. absolutely...Reading is a window to the world:)

  5. Reading is always good. we read more we learn more.

  6. Thanks all for sharing your thoughts.