National Reading year: An essay

Switch off the TV and start reading

All the great men and great leaders are great readers as well. Television has completely changed the way we think and work. New lifestyles are adopted from popular reality shows broadcasted on the TV. Ancient culture and heritage are replaced by modern popular western culture. Children are glued to the idiot box for most of their free time. Families get rare opportunity for quiet and peaceful time after a tiresome day. Everyone is busy in their own world watching different shows on the TV. On the other hand, the culture of reading books is diminishing at drastic rate. Children and young people find it more and more monotonous to pick up a good book and enjoy the read.

Supporters of the mainstream TV culture maintain that watching TV is more effective for learning than reading. They also say that what you see in live pictures and footages remain more vividly in the memory. They assert that scientific knowledge can be assimilated more easily by the use of audiovisual media compared to reading it in textbooks. However, in a recent study at the Emory University, Neuroscientists have discovered that reading a novel can improve brain function on a variety of levels. The study titled, “Short- and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain," was recently published in the journal ‘Brain Connectivity’.
The researchers found that becoming engrossed in a novel enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function. Interestingly, reading fiction was found to improve the reader's ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes and flex the imagination in a way that is similar to the visualization of a muscle memory in sports. This is simple scientific evidence that reading is far more beneficial for learning than watching TV.

Those who are fans of TV shows argue that they get more fun and happiness watching Television shows than reading books. They cite examples of some people who cannot stay a minute without keeping their TV on. Believers of this idea put forward that it gives them immense joy to watch beautiful natural scenarios of faraway land on the TV. On the other hand, a new study by sociologists at the University of Maryland concludes that unhappy people watch more TV, while people who describe themselves as very happy spend more time reading and socializing. The study appears in the December issue of the journal ‘Social Indicators Research’’. Analyzing 30-years worth of national data from time-use studies and a continuing series of social attitude surveys, the Maryland researchers report that spending time watching television may contribute to viewers' happiness in the moment, with less positive effects in the long run. Based on data from time use surveys, researcher’s project that TV viewing might increase significantly as the economy worsens in the next few months and years. Therefore, the unsubstantiated claims of TV addicts that watching TV keeps them happy are scientifically invalid.

In this era, people watch TV till the time they go to bed. People believe that TV is a good time killer. They think it saves them from getting bored. They argue that if not for a nice TV show, what could they be doing all the time on a boring Friday evening? These classes of people also assert that watching TV helps them get a sound sleep and a good physical rest. Contradictorily, a survey undertaken by University of Liverpool shows that regular readers for pleasure reported fewer feelings of stress and depression than non-readers, and stronger feelings of relaxation from reading than from watching television, engaging with social media, or reading other leisure material (for example, celebrity, beauty or style magazines). Reading creates a parallel world in which personal anxieties can recede, while also helping people to realize that the problems they experience are not theirs alone. A fifth of respondents said reading helped them to feel less lonely.

It's no secret that reading is good for you. Just six minutes of reading is enough to reduce stress by 68%, and numerous studies have shown that reading keeps your brain functioning effectively as you age. One study even found that elderly individuals who read regularly are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer's than their peers. Regular reading also increases empathy. Watching Television, on the other hand promotes stress, anxiety, boredom and hatred etc. Therefore it is high time, if you want to be fit and happy, that you switch off your TV and start reading.


  1. Happy reading year for you too Dawa! :)

  2. wow! wonderful write up. keep writing....

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