Jahzeel (2018: np) defines reading as the cognitive process that involves decoding symbols to arrive at the meaning. Reading is an active process of understanding words, signs, or symbols to create meaning. It is a mental process that develops from the readers’ prior knowledge.
It is also a thinking process that enables the reader to decode and process what is read. This is also in line with Longman‘s Dictionary of Applied Linguistics that reading is perceiving a written text to understand its contents.
This can be done silently (silent reading).‖ It also states reading as saying a written text aloud (oral reading). This can be achieved with or without an understanding of the contents.
Five (5) Importance of Reading to the Student
Reading has been described as an indispensable thoroughfare of communication. Students cannot survive in their studies without reading. Reading, e.g. books, newspapers, and journal articles is one of the most inexpensive sources of knowledge acquisition.
Reading is one of the most influential and potent tools for personal development. Reading is wealthy and relevant to you, your family, and society.
1. Stimulates and Exercises the Brain
Your brain will become dull and sleepy when you do not read. Imagine a farm that is not tended, weeds will overgrow and cover everywhere. Likewise, the brain. Reading stimulates and exercises the brain. It keeps the brain sharp, active, and excellently activated.
Reading sharpens the mind to think, understand, memorize and remember. When a supposed dull person begins to read, the dullness will soon be cleared and replaced with a sharp articulation of facts and ideas.
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2. Evokes Satisfaction
There is no alternative to the satisfaction you get from reading. Remember, I said earlier that, reading is a powerful communication tool. When you read, a great deal of communication between you and the writers takes place. The reader derives great satisfaction from this. Effective readers develop a warm relationship with their books.
3. Enlarges and enhances the mind
The mind is empty and devoid of information and ideas without reading. The more you read, the more your mind is expanded and filled with knowledge and understanding. This invariably helps to improve your power of concentration, focus, and thinking.
By broadening your mind, your knowledge also is enriched. It sharpens your mind and induces analytical thinking. When your mind is enlarged, it gathers vocabulary from reading.
Reading remains the primary source of building vocabulary and helps you to express yourself better.
Why are so many people bereft of ideas? They do not read. They spend time chasing shadows, following frivolities, or dwelling on non-essentials that will eventually backfire on them.
4. Improves your writing skills
No writer is not an avaricious reader. Reading boosts your ability to think, develop words and phrases, and spurs you to write.
5. Reduces tension and Stress
Effective reading changes lives and personalities in very dramatic ways. Martin Luther became a reformer by reading the Bible. Reading empowered him so much that he could challenge the then Papal power that was regarded as sovereign.
People find solace in reading. Reading has transformed so many people from a state of despair and hopelessness to a state of courage and determination to face challenges with confidence.
It helps to reduce stress and tensions and transports the reader to a dreamland, far away from the real world‖ full of complexities.
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