1,600 people in 30 countries were surveyed by the NOP World Culture Score Index
to find out how many hours are spent reading. The results are both interesting and significant. It appears that trends bunch in geographic clusters- Asian countries read the most, while Southern Hemisphere countries including South Africa, Australia, and Argentina show similar results. Strangely, industrialized first world countries are at the bottom of the rankings. Better minds than mine will have to interpret these findings as interesting as they are.
This same study asked which genres were favored. The most popular genre was fantasy! 32% of the people surveyed said this was the genre they favored, especially among men, followed by the Russian classics, and historical fiction. Not surprisingly, romance was favored by females around the world. Modern prose came in as the least favored.
Although India has the highest number of hours read per week, 25% of the country is illiterate. I think we can deduce from this that those who can read, read a lot. In contrast, only about one half of the adults in the USA read books and only about one fifth are regular book buyers.
Why does this matter?
Here are a couple of reasons that may interest you-
1. Reading is a complex brain activity that works this very important organ.
2. Reading is a way of discovering in-depth information about things that interest us. And importantly, it leads us to those things that may interest and influence us in the future!
3. Reading helps to develop the imagination needed to make new discoveries, and to invent new things. The future of the world may depend on those with imaginations that lead to new technologies.
4. It is a fact that those who cannot read often suffer from low self-esteem, which may lead to behavioral problems and a sense of isolation.
5. Reading increases vocabulary, communication skills, and knowledge- all vital to success.
6. Because powerful ideas can be communicated through reading, some oppressive governments ban it. It is easier to control and manipulate a society that is illiterate. Think about books that have changed the world-
The Republic by Plato
The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels
The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
It is our responsibility to make our children readers. The best way to do this is to set an example by being an active reader yourself. Read with them and to them.
The future may depend on it!