Sunday, April 14, 2024

JEFF BROOMES: Benefits of reading


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IN MY PREVIOUS submission I proposed that there can be no bad readers. 

You can either read or you cannot.  It is the levels or degrees to which the accompanying traits of identifying, following and appreciating are inculcated and reproduced that determine quality.

The excellence of the reader heightens that individual’s quality of life.  As expressed, this does not suggest financial wealth, social positioning or any material opulence. These, however, may be more easily achieved by a reader than by a non-reader.  

We are social beings and, by definition, communication is crucial.  There is an absolute need for both communicating parties to be on the same page of understanding what is passed through the conduit of interaction.  

What is presented must be indistinguishable from what is received.  Failing this, misunderstandings and conflicts are the inevitable result.  In other words, there must be total congruence, even loyalty, between reception and presentation.

Readers are more knowledgeable than non-readers; readers project a greater sense of confidence than non-readers; they speak with a greater sense of authority, are more articulate and present the written and spoken word with more appreciated eloquence than non-readers.  

These are traits that may be seen in different degrees in different readers, but they are what make the ability to read so important.  This is the foundation of the quality of life of which I speak!  Reading is the main ingredient in the mortar and bricks of this foundation.

As a youngster, it was drilled into my head that anything worth having is worth sacrificing for.  This was further enhanced by another statement that the achievement of anything of quality required a discriminating decision.  

All outstanding sportsmen and professionals must sacrifice something in pursuit of their ultimate goal.  The sacrifice may be in terms of financial opportunities, social interactions or rest time.  The same is important in the journey along the highway to be a reader.  

When we sit in our homes, our classrooms, our libraries or simply on the bench at the beach to read, we are sacrificing other things that we could be doing.  That is the negative impact of becoming a reader.  The sacrifice is even more noticeable when we pursue excellence.  That’s a small price for the ultimate goal of a high quality of life.  

Technology and its children more familiarly known as social media make becoming a reader even more challenging.  While technology can make learning easier with its readily available resources it also quite easily eliminates the need for deep thinking and analysis.  

Be it text messaging, whatsapping or their spin-offs, language is impacted by the multiplicity of new words, short cuts and symbols.  These now require much interpretation.  

Boy, oh boy, Ihu and can only Lol or Smh and keep things Btw while I wait for you to give me sain!

There are six genuine benefits to reading. It can educate, presenting opportunities for one to learn a plethora of subjects.  It can assist in the bonding process, establishing connections that last a lifetime.  It can energise, touching chords of unbridled enthusiasm. 

Reading can inspire, preventing stagnation or even regression while supporting creativity.  It can prevent intellectual and mental deterioration among our seniors who should be allowed to have new vicarious experiences.  It can upgrade thinking by encouraging use of the five descriptive questions.  Let’s all read to ensure a good quality of life!


Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser who also served as vice- president of the BCA and director of the WICB. Email:


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