Students: Reading is Irrelevant
A 5-year study of the reading habits of 1,050 students (high school and college) and 875 executives reveals reading books is last on their hierarchy of values. It is an old fashioned knowledge technology.
These results mirror the past twenty years of information technology. Public access to the Internet is a form of neuroplasticity. The computer changes not just our learning habits, but the function and structure of the brain of Homo sapiens.
a) “Reading, there are better things to do with my time. ”
b) “I spend four-hours messaging my friends on MySpace. ”
c) “I rather listen to music, fire-off video games, or surf YouTube. ”
d) “Reading books is a school thing, not what I choose. ”
Surfing the Internet for news, CNBC for stock price listings, and Googling games and *** o, occupies up to 40% of executives. The book publishing industry confirms the typical executive (college graduate) reads only one (1) book annually.
A recurring complaint by executives is based on their Cost-Benefit-Analysis of the reading experience. There is too limited a payoff for the time invested in book reading. Audio (Podcasts), Video, and the Internet, offers greater cognitive rewards than three hours in reading text. Is reading a book as cool as using their laptop?
Educators labeling students and executives learning-challenged or folks with limited attention-span, is a refusal to accept the attraction of new technology. Today students and executives demand immediate gratification for their learning experience regardless of their learning curve. Produce or be deleted.
If your media – newspapers and magazines for example – are slow to deliver hard information for the time invested, Chapter 13 is on the horizon in our Knowledge Economy.
Reading by the majority of people in a society is a recent event. Reading and writing is about 6,200 years old, and attributed to the Sumerians in Mesopotamia (Iraq). The original purpose of writing was for scribes to keep track of the wealth of Kings.
The system was simple, using wedge-shaped symbols on clay and baked and called Cuneiform. Reading and writing remained limited to Priests and the Nobility.
Not until Johannes Gutenberg, German printer in 1455, were books made available for the wealthy. He is credited with inventing movable type, a process of printing multiple pages simultaneously. Popular books, cheap and available, did not reach the public until the late 19th century.
Imagine curling up with a good book. Your mental pictures immediate change from stress, anxiety, depression and alienation, to deep relaxation and peace.
Information processing by reading or using your computer appears to be identical. Both are cognitive experiences, yet reading appears to elicit more personal emotions and improved learning skills. Only through reading does comprehension advance and vocabulary evolves into long-term memory knowledge.
Research indicates reading improves human attention span and learning motivation. Learning through listening (lecture) or by observation (visual) does not measurably improve concentration skills.
If time invested is the competitive difference in choosing how we learn, we suggest you examine speed reading skills. Evelyn Wood a schoolteacher from Utah back in 1957, created the 20 Minute Hour, the ability to read and remember in 20 minutes what takes your competitors one-hour to absorb.
Would students and executives rediscover the benefits of reading text if they could 3x their reading speed and 2x their long-term memory?
Ask us how.
Copyright 2007 H. Bernard Wechsler www.speedlearning.org email@example.com
Author of Speed Learning for Professionals, published by Barron's; partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading, graduating two million, including the White House staffs of four U. S. Presidents.
Interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and fortune Magazine for major articles.