With modern tech, access to literature is wider than ever.

By Jasmine Edge: literature Columnist

Technology has changed the way we read, and it might be time that we encouraged more people to embrace it. When we think of the activity of reading it’s easy to get wrapped up in the romanticised idea of sitting cuddled up in a cosy blanket next to a warm fire, particularly this time of year.

In society we fall into the trap of doing things the ‘right way’, the way that the majority have done for so long; the truth is to enjoy reading, especially in today’s age where it’s so much easier to scroll through social media, you have to discover how to read in your own way.

The stress placed on reading at school have caused some young people to view it as a chore, rather than an activity to enjoy or relax with. To combat this, it should be declared that there is no ‘right’ way to read anymore.

Whether you prefer to read on a screen with an e-reader, listen to your favourite author, or pick up a book the old-fashioned way; you can choose what works for you. In doing so, could encourage more people to read in a way which they enjoy, and can benefit more from in their studies as well as at home. Irene Picton, research manager at the National Literacy Trust, confirms that, “Reading confidence can be a real challenge for some children and young people, and so encouraging them to read in whatever way works best for them is a really great thing to do.”

Reading habits

Joran Harry the co-founder of StudyFast, and Ted Talk speaker tells me that, “Reading isn’t for everyone and learning doesn’t have to come from reading. However, if you want to build a habit of reading and fall in love with it you need to create a tiny habit. Read for 2 minutes every day. It’s so small you’ll do it every day. And the key thing to any habit is consistency. And that’s exactly what tiny habits build.”

Harry lists me some of the benefits he has gained from improving his reading skills these being: “improved my brain health”, “seen the world”, “met people smarter than me” and the “ability to learn crypto and language learning faster”.

…build a habit of reading and fall in love with it… Read for 2 minutes every day.

Though he’s gained these benefits he also tells me that books have been mentors to him, “If I said “I have Steve Jobs, Barack Obama and Tim Ferriss over my house would you like to come?” You’d say yes. Although not literally, I do in book form. And that’s what books are… mentors.” He tells me this view of reading for him, is one of the things that helped him overcome his speech impediment.

Resources available

Whoever you are, reading may or may not be for you. However, before you decide this maybe ask yourself why you have come to this conclusion, and if you have fully explored the options that modern day technology enables you to seize the opportunities books have to offer?

Picton perfectly highlights how much is out there at the moment to help young people, whether it be access to resources or help build reading confidence, “What is also really great to see is, like our charity, so many organisations have adapted educational materials and activities so families can access them at home.”

She goes on to say, “like many organisations we are doing everything we can to increase access to books, we recently launched the Virtual School Library in partnership with Oak National Academy which offers a free ebook or audio book every week and activities and videos from the author. As well as our Virtual School Library, parents and teachers could also look into whether their local library offers access to the platforms Borrow Box or Libby, to access free ebooks.”

Some more great tips from Harry are to utilise, “Fantastic apps like Nosli, lo-fi beats on Spotify” as well as “waking up earlier or staying up later to create that space, may be what you have to do. There’s power in waking up first in your house and having the silence to work on you.” The possibilities to help you read whether it be for learning, enjoyment or both are endless; reading needs to stopped being promoted as ‘one size fits all’.

Meet Jasmine on the Team page. Visit the Literature Department.