Have you ever stopped to think about how important reading is? It is, you know, and for many reasons. To function in today’s society you need to be able to read. 

It is no exaggeration to say that there are many adults, and even youths, who are unable to read well enough to understand the instructions on medicine bottles. 

Reading is an important skill, particularly for those seeking to enter the job market to look for work. Most of the jobs that pay well require good reading skills as part of the job.  There are reports to be read and replied to. Poor reading skills increase the time required to act and react at the workplace. In my opinion, a person’s achievements are limited by poor reading skills. 

Reading is also important because it helps develop the mind. Understanding the written word increases one’s abilities. Teaching children to read helps them develop their language skills. It also helps them learn to listen attentively. Everyone is keen to talk, but few know how to listen. The lack of attentive listening skills can lead to misunderstandings that can cause job losses and other problems, big and small. Reading teaches children and adults to focus on the person who is communicating. 

But why is reading so important? Books, magazines and, even, the internet are teaching tools that require the ability to read and understand what we are reading. A person who can read can educate themselves in any aspect of life that they are interested in. We live at a time where we are bombarded with information; reading is the best way to take advantage of this. 

Reading develops a person’s imagination and strengthens their creativity. Reading is wonderful because it expands our vocabulary and when we come across new words we store them away for later. When we read to children, we do well to stop occasionally to ask them what they thing will happen next. This helps them think about the story. 

Reading is fundamental to a person’s self-development. People who do not read, and in Malta they are many both young and old, often put themselves down and their abilities.  They perform badly in other subjects because they do not understand the material. 

It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Ideas that have been written down have changed the destiny of people and nations, for better or for worse. We need to read and research to build on new ideas and expose bad ideas before they bring destruction. Reading can help arm us to face this ongoing challenge in life. 

The power of ideas that have been written down and communicated through reading is the main reason some governments oppose free and honest communication. Illiterate people are easy to control and manipulate. They cannot do their own research or their own thinking. They depend on what they are told and are led by emotion. 

Above all, reading is important because words – both spoken and written – are the pillars of life.  What you become in the future depends on the words that you believe today about yourself. If you stop to think – people, families, relationships and even nations are built on words.