Are You Becoming ‘Aliterate’?

According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary to be aliterate means you are capable of reading but are uninterested in doing so; in fact you find reading to be a chore; you consider it too much like work and fail to accept it could be a pleasurable past-time.    

Photo by / Christian W

A large number of scholars will agree that aliteracy  keeps the populace uninformed and unable to adapt to new literacy standards; it also allows learned skills to stagnate due to neglect.  Then again, there are those among us who feel strongly that the widespread use of electronic media is a major factor in the declining use and need of written literature.  No longer is literacy considered the cornerstone of a complete education.   The joy, satisfaction and value of the written word must compete with audiobooks, films, and the world of social networking with its’ desire for brief messages and  a lack of standardized notation.  Fast becoming the norm, aliteracy is daily responsible for the closing of hundreds of bookstores.

How stimulating is reading?  Does it assist one in developing verbal skills and are those skills necessary for success?  Is patience a requirement for navigating through the rough times in life and does reading aid in acquiring patience?

Doctors tells us that reading improves brain connectivity, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, fights depression and keeps one young.  Teachers will assure you that being able to connect ideas and command an extensive vocabulary will open doors to success that would otherwise be closed to you.  Reading how others live helps you to empathize and mature emotionally.  You become more open-minded and accepting of people that society has stigmatized.  It minimizes the negative perceptions of others that you are likely to form when little is known of their lives.  Your worth increases when you apply the critical thinking and practical innovation you will develop and discover when you choose reading.  Finally, to understand what you are reading involves a complex decoding process that includes patience.  Communications expert Neil Postman wrote: “Sentences, paragraphs and pages unfold slowly in sequence and according to a logic that is far from intuitive.”  Patience allows for interpretation, evaluation and reflection. 

Photo Thanks to Thought Catalog

In the end it is a balanced view which wins the day.  The printed page and media both have strengths and limitations.  Each can be used or abused.  One thing is for sure; you cannot force anyone to read nor should you try.

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