Story by ELLEN BECKER, Managing Editor
The fact that many young people today do not like to read is nothing new. We are in the age of technology. If they can get the same basic information from a 140-character tweet or a short Facebook post instead of reading a full article, that’s what they’re going to do.
In college, many students choose not to do reading assignments because they assume the professor will present the important information in class. I have to admit that I read very little in my undergrad. If there wasn’t going to be an in-class quiz over an assigned reading, I simply wouldn’t do it.
According to an article on San Francisco State University’s website, “between 1981 and 1997, the number of students who read assignments, as measured by their performance on surprise quizzes, dropped from approximately 80 percent to 20 percent.” Although the dates are somewhat old, I’m afraid the facts still remain the same today.
The article goes on to say that students don’t read “for many of the same reasons people in general don’t read; they lack time, interest, they are lazy, and often find information they need in alternative formats.”
I somehow managed to get through my undergrad classes by skimming chapters and studying the bold and highlighted terms in each chapter before a test. And, surprisingly, I did very well with that method. But soon after graduation, I found myself wishing I had read more. I didn’t feel like I had learned all that I needed to learn. Now that I’m in grad school, I’ve decided to do things differently.
What is the point of going to college if we’re just going to fly through classes by the seat of our pants and do the bare minimum to get by? We as students must take it upon ourselves to get the most out of our education.
According to an article on California State University’s website, reading has cognitive consequences that extend beyond its immediate task of lifting meaning from a particular passage. “Reading volume, although clearly a consequence of developed reading ability, is itself a significant contributor to the development of other aspects of verbal intelligence.”
Through reading, you gain an increased vocabulary, and can improve analytical thinking. Reading can also improve your memory and writing skills, and has even been proved as a stress reliever.
So the next time you’re considering skipping that reading assignment, think twice. It’s the smart thing to do.