Last year I had to write a persuasive speech for my English class and I’ve decided to post it today to share with you. I got top marks for it and, although I’ve adapted some of it to fit the blog, here it is today.
The average reading age in the UK is nine years old and I think that that is appalling. Recent research has shown that fewer people are now reading for enjoyment. With the rise of television, computer games and social networking, people no longer feel the need to pick up a book when they can turn on a TV set or sit in front of a gaming console. Studies have shown that teenagers are now selecting easier reads. Professor Topping from the University of Dundee said that “[teenagers are] not only not reading at a higher level; they’re not thinking at a higher level.” The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney are not only popular amongst Year Four pupils but also among Year Eleven students, a study has shown. By the age of thirteen and fourteen, pupils are reading books with an average reading age of ten.
I believe that everyone should read. Why? Because I know how much it has helped me. Through reading, I have met a lovely group of people and regularly come into contact with authors and publishers who I have learned a lot from. When I’m older I am hoping to work within publishing or write my own novel so the advice I’m given is invaluable. Over a year ago my granddad died and, following his passing, reading helped me to deal with the loss. It is safe to say that my life had dramatically changed and reading became a way to escape and forget. When I picked up a book, I could transport myself to another place and become enraptured in this new place, whether it’s the streets of New York or a land thousands of years in the future. I run my own website where I review books and the pleasure I get from sharing my views with like-minded people is something that I wouldn’t get from watching TV or playing sport.
Enough about me; why do I think other people should read? Well, people who read are more likely to have a higher self-esteem, better health, better jobs and higher paid wages than those who don’t. Also, reading is important because things like following instructions and filling out forms is something that happens on a regular basis in today’s society. Being able to read a sign on the road or a piece of writing on the side of a food packet is really important and will help people out in many ways. Reading also improves your vocabulary, something that is really important. You may think that the only time you’ll need a good vocabulary is in English but it can also help with other subjects and will help you to understand, for example, questions in tests and earn you more marks in exams. As I mentioned earlier, TV and computer games are two of the most popular ways to spend free time and people are no longer leaving things up to their imaginations and are used to being shown images rather than thinking them up themselves. Who has watched a movie that they never want to end? Books last a lot longer than films and are also a lot cheaper to buy and they don’t use up as much electricity!
I asked around the book blogging and reading community and people offered to write a few sentences to a short paragraph on why they liked reading, how reading has helped them and the things they’ve experienced through reading. Here is what they said:
Rachel Ward, award-winning author of the Numbers trilogy, said: ‘reading represents, among other things, an escape, a challenge, a source of insight and inspiration and a comfort.’
Zoe Crook, owner of popular book blog Bookhi, says that: ‘Without reading, I don’t know who I would be. Books have helped me get through problems, helped me to be myself and discover who I really am. The power of reading can transport you to a new world where you can meet crazy characters, have adventures and slip into someone else’s shoes. By only sitting in a chair, you can travel the globe, meet amazing people, escape from prison, meet the President and cheat death. The ability to be someone else and lose yourself in a new world is one of the reasons why I love reading so much; it allows you to forget the issues around you and live another life.’
Writer Sarah Benwell says: ‘[books] let you figure out who you are and who you want to be; what you think, and how to deal with life.’
So what can you do to get yourself interested in reading? Here are a few of my ideas:
- Start or join a book club- Book clubs are great for meeting new people and socialising. You may think that it will be full of geeks but there are actually some really nice people who go and it’s a good way to have fun.
- Set yourself a goal each week to read for a certain amount of time, whether it is ten minutes or half an hour. That time can really help and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to sit yourself down and pick up a book.
- Find something that you enjoy reading. There are a lot of websites where people take the time to review books and recommend them and it’s a great way to hear somebody else’s views before you buy a book.
- Visit the library! Borrowing from a library is an easy way to acquire books for free and you don’t have to read them if you don’t like them. All you need to do is sign up for a library card and then you can borrow away!
What do you think?
Sunny A9 October, 2013 at 6:35 am
I really enjoyed this Lucy and it’s no wonder you received a high mark. I agree with every statement in this article. Reading has changed my life in SO many wonderful ways and you and Zoe have described that perfectly. Many people view reading as boring which I believe is ridiculous because how can exploring different lives and worlds be boring!! It’s possibly one of the most entertaining and fulfilling things. They obviously mustn’t be reading the right books. I think reading has boosted my intelligence and has definitely helped me academically. The words I now use and know.. is a very long and useful list. Reading is something I treasure and hope to continue throughout my life and I find it sad that so many will most likely never read more then 3 more books in their life. Fantastic Post Lucy!
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Francoise9 October, 2013 at 6:59 am
I can see why you got full marks! I totally agree with everything you said. Reading is everything and even if you’re not a book lover you still read every day. I think it’s an important skill and like you said, it widens your vocabulary. I found that when I wasn’t reading I just felt like there were no words to express what I’m feeling but when you see all these words that can mean one thing it just makes it a whole lot easier. Reading definitely helped with my writing capability whether it was just in class or just my own creative writing, reading is just something that needs to be done! Now I’m going to stop here otherwise I’ll end up writing my own discussion.
Dan Smith9 October, 2013 at 12:22 pm
Well said and well argued. I was shocked and ashamed to read the news today about falling literacy standards in the UK, so it’s great to know that there are some young people out there who can see the huge benefits and enjoyment to be had from reading. Spread the word!
Rita @ Weaving Pages9 October, 2013 at 5:31 pm
Lucy, this is great!! I’ve actually never done a speech on reading (I did one on poverty in Brazil, and one on being yourself-which I snuck a Jace reference into!) so I absolutely LOVED this one! The teacher I’ve had for the past two years made such an emphasis on reading, but it still upsets me how little people in my class read! Reading has helped me so much and I just feel like glaring at all them when they go on about how it’s uncool or blah-blah-blah. I think I’ve ended up ranting on to anyone who would listen! I really wish more people would start reading…
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Isapop9 October, 2013 at 8:02 pm
This is brilliant. I so agree!
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Chrissi Reads10 October, 2013 at 5:51 am
Well done Lucy! I work with 4-7 year olds and I try and encourage reading. Most of the children I work with love stories, which is great. I only hope it carries on. Fabulous post!
Kyra11 October, 2013 at 8:08 am
I completely agree! I find it extremely sad how technology is completely taking over and I wish people would read more, instead of being glued to TV or video games. Lately I have been encouraging a lot of my friends to start reading and one girl who doesn’t like reading at all, read one of the books I recommended to her and she loved it and wants to read more often. I think if people just find the right book they’ll love reading just as much as we do! 🙂
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Jon Biddle12 October, 2013 at 7:28 pm
Fantastic speech, well done. Creating a love of reading and books is the most important job that schools have. Completely agree with everything you’ve said.
Ronnie10 November, 2013 at 10:23 am
I’m a month late on this, but I couldn’t help but reply on a topic about the primacy of the reading habit in our lives. First, many kudos to Lucy for her excellent, extremely compelling speech on the myriad joys and benefits of reading. It just thrills me to hear a young girl so passionately and convincingly encourage everybody to begin reading, and read regularly. I’m not a teen (I’m 41), but I’ll readily testify how I’ve been wholly hooked on reading from the the age of 7-8, and spent my own teenage years actively pursuing both outdoor sports and reading prolifically, throughout the year. The best of both worlds, in a sense. Looking at the legions of my fellow adults everywhere who don’t seem to read much, if anything at all, outside of work, I wonder if reading is an acquired habit that perhaps necessarily needs to be acquired pretty early, i.e. in one’s childhood and youth, during the school years. Not that one cannot seriously and consciously start reading more as adults, but I’m staggered by the sheer number of people my age or younger, who are seemingly not even interested in reading as much as they can, as often as they possibly can. I’m glad that I’ve always loved reading, and still read every day (for at least an hour, usually more). I can only marvel at, but not enumerate, all the pleasures and benefits that reading prolifically have brought into my life. Yes, Lucy, everybody should read. We cannot ever the overstate the case for reading.
Ronnie10 November, 2013 at 10:31 am
Just noticed that my concluding live above contains a careless mistake. It should read as:
We cannot ever overstate the case for reading. 🙂
Ronnie10 November, 2013 at 10:31 am
Just noticed that my concluding line above contains a careless mistake. It should read as:
We cannot ever overstate the case for reading. 🙂
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Claire Masters17 May, 2021 at 6:16 pm
I like your tip about setting aside time for reading and making weekly reading goals. I’ve been trying to get my niece and nephew to start reading this summer. I’m planning on buying them adventure books that might capture their interest so I’m currently looking for a book series on superheroes.