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?