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Importance Of Reading and How Pakistani Youth Can Benefit From It

Reading books plays a key role in developing and educating individual minds and acts as a catalyst in social, economic and moral development of the society at large. The habit and culture of reading books in Pakistan's youth is almost non-prevalent. Especially since the rapid penetration of hand-held mobile devices, children and students are no longer motivated to sit and go through black and white pages of a book when they can access the world through flashy screens on their mobiles. Books are a window to the world of knowledge: economy, politics, history, literature, culture, and what not. The benefits of reading books can not be stressed enough. According to an article by Healthline following are some benefits of regular reading that are backed by research:

  • improves brain connectivity
  • increases your vocabulary and comprehension
  • empowers you to empathize with other people
  • aids in sleep readiness
  • reduces stress
  • lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  • fights depression symptoms
  • prevents cognitive decline as you age
  • contributes to a longer life

Reading holds a significant role in Islam as the first word of the Holy Quran that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was ‘Iqra’, meaning to read or recite. Muslim scientists and scholars dominated the world during what is known in the West as Dark Ages (5th to late 15th Century). Alas, today our part of the world has lost our way in the field of education. Even the books that we read in our colleges and Universities are mostly either authored by Foreign writers or are a very poor copy-pasted imitation of foreign books. There is hardly any Research work being carried out by our society. All of this can mainly be attributed to the lack of reading by our students. Adding fuel to the fire, it was more astonishing to go through the results of a recent survey conducted by the Gallup and Gillani Foundation Pakistan according to which 75% of the students in Pakistan are not reading any book — showing sad yet real side of the problem that 3 out 4 students in the country never read a book at all except probably the university course books and that too only for passing the exam.

Successful people that are known world-over have a common trait of reading books. Be it the Investing Magnate Warren Buffet, Microsoft's Founder Bill Gates, former president of USA Barrack Obama, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk all are avid readers of books and share their recommendations regularly.

The recent increase in cases of sexual harassments and crimes than are linked to the ever-increasing polarity in Pakistan (gap between poor and rich) can all be countered if we foster feelings of empathy in ourselves. Science has shown that reading books can increase ability to empathize with others. Research has shown that people who read literary fiction — stories that explore the inner lives of characters — show a heightened ability to understand the feelings and beliefs of others.

Researchers call this ability the “theory of mind,” a set of skills essential for building, navigating, and maintaining social relationships.

While a single session of reading literary fiction isn’t likely to spark this feeling, research shows that long-term fiction readers do tend to have a better-developed theory of mind.

So, what should you be reading? The short answer is: Whatever you can get your hands on.

There was a time when remote regions had to rely on librarians traversing the mountains with books stuffed in saddlebags. But that’s hardly the case today. Just about everyone can access vast libraries contained in cellphones and tablets.

If you’re pressed for time, devote a few minutes daily to a blog on a niche topic. If you’re looking for an escape, fantasy or historical fiction can transport you out of your own surroundings and into another world altogether.

If you’re on a career fast-track, read nonfiction advice offered by someone who’s already arrived. Consider it a mentorship you can pick up and put down when it suits your schedule.

One thing to note: Don’t read solely on a device. Flip through print books, too.

Studies have shown repeatedly that people who read print books score higher on comprehension tests and remember more of what they read than people who read the same material in a digital form.

That may be, in part, because people tend to read print more slowly than they read digital content.