Reading is an invaluable skill that far too many literate people often take for granted to the point these individuals never fully master the art. Consequently, these people, as well as society, often miss out on the benefits of being fully literate. In a day and age when communication is more important than ever, weak or nonexistent reading skills diminish the capacity of individuals to succeed and improve our society. Sadly, it is the need to communicate, which makes the ability to read so important, yet far too many individuals have so casually dismissed the need to improve this quintessential communication skill.
A communiqué is not simply a string of words and phrases as the structure, format, and phrases of a composition are what actually determine what the writer is trying to “say” to reader. As such, those with underdeveloped or nonexistent reading skills cannot fully comprehend the meaning of written words, thus they are certain to make mistakes. Of course, even strong readers can often misinterpret or fail to fully recognize what the writer is actually saying, thus details are lost and confusion prevails when we do not read or write messages carefully. On the other hand, when someone is a weak reader, mistakes are far more likely.
Meanwhile, nonreaders may not understand information in the same way as the literate. Speaking involves more than just the use of words as body language and tone impact how we interpret what others are trying to communicate. Consequently, we can respond immediately to how others perceive our ideas to correct their interpretation. Writing lacks this responsiveness, thereby, forcing writers to carefully phrase their ideas and create a logical structure to ensure the intent of their message is not distorted. Reading the works of others, thus changes how we process new information.
Furthermore, the inability to read and the costs associated with losing out on the written works translate into real life struggles. In the modern world, the illiterate cannot connect to the global community while most economic opportunities are untouchable. Additionally, attitudes and social interactions are impacted by a lack of knowledge and inability to comprehend complex constructs like a person’s individual impact on others. This leaves the illiterate at a disadvantage when it comes to avoiding and resolving conflicts as well as finding creative, innovative ways of solving problems.
Moreover, the ability to read is important to individuals, as well as society, for the simple reason that our modern society could exist not if our vast population was largely illiterate. Along with the massive exchange of ideas offered on daily basis by everything from books to the internet, the ability to read makes us better thinkers. Part of what separate us from other primates is our human ability to work together in a massive community without killing everyone around us. The skills we develop through literacy help reinforce this basic human characteristic.