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* Reflective Essay
The Underestimated Importance of Reading
For thousands of years, reading was considered a worthy activity and books were highly valued. Books are carriers for ideas. This is the reason why, thousands of years ago, some books were praised while others were subject to be burned – often together with their authors. However, nowadays in the ever-accelerating pace of life, people experience lack of time for such a thoughtful activity as reading. They are content with the raw half-stuff provided by the television and other mass media. There is no need to mention the sort and quality of the broadcast information. In its turn, reading has always been an activity which contributes to personality development and is difficult to overestimate.

I remember one conversation with an acquaintance of mine. This conversation totally convinced me of the importance of reading, especially for modern youth. As we spoke, he only retold the content of popular TV shows, but he couldn’t keep the conversation on other topics that I tried to start. Suddenly, it turned out that he was completely unfamiliar with the works of even the most famous authors in world literature. When I expressed my astonishment about this fact, he answered that he never read books at all. He said it was a boring and obsolete occupation. He seemed to be sincerely surprised why someone would want to read a book, when there were other ways to receive information such as from the Internet or television.

Of course this case is extreme, but to my mind, not too rare among modern young people. When perceiving information that is already processed and digested, one cannot develop crucial traits that reading induces, such as critical thinking, erudition and imagination. Critical thinking is, perhaps, the most important since it implies the ability to decide, what to believe and what to ignore. This skill is especially useful in the modern world where a surplus of information exists. Without critical thinking, a person is more likely to take everything that they are exposed to for granted. When reading, people start intrapersonal communication, constantly analyzing and reflecting on the material, applying it to themselves, and finally forming an opinion towards the comprehended data. At the same time, media often transmits information in a predetermined way, thus impeding individuals from interpreting it.

Erudition is another important trait that a person can develop with the help of books. Erudition means extensive knowledge. It is one of the key factors that make people interesting. Erudition helps to establish communication, since an erudite can keep a conversation on a wide range of topics. Being a polymath also means knowing how to act in unusual situations, or at least implies general familiarity with them. For example, a person fond of reading adventure novels may put on a bold face if lost in the woods, and from books, they can learn basic knowledge on how to survive in the woods.

Finally, reading develops and boosts imagination, which is one of those traits needed in all spheres of life. Imagination is a capability to form sensations even when they are not perceived through the senses. It is a form of creativity that is closely linked to the ability to prognosticate the consequences of making decisions, inventing something new or creating art work. Reading enhances imagination, since a reader has to envisage characters, places and events depicted in the book. Obviously, television cannot contribute to this skill, since it transmits images that were prepared in advance; hence, depriving one’s mind from mental food.

Based on the aforementioned arguments, the benefits of reading can be easily seen. Its role in the development of an individual can hardly be overestimated. People who have solid intellectual ability are more interesting to communicate with, more creative and they experience little or no difficulties when forming and expressing...
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