To say people need to know how to read to be successful, is an understatement in the modern day. There are so many things we read in a day, from road signs to menus to texts to essays, the list goes on. However, with technology advancing, fitting in time to read recreationally can be a struggle for some.
There could be an important consequence that comes with a downward trend in traditional reading. The importance of creativity is taught alongside the skill of reading. If less people are sitting down to read, it raises a question as to whether levels of creativity will be affected.
“We’re reading blogs, we’re reading texts, we’re on Facebook, things like that. But those types of reading activities aren’t really as stimulating as actually getting a book, and concentrating on a specific piece for a longer amount of time,” said school librarian Ms. Kelly McDaniel.
Information is becoming accessible at a much higher rate than ten or twenty years ago, English teacher Mr. Chris Murphy mentioned in an interview.
This could mean that reading actual books will become less popular, and if the popularity does fall, there’s not really a clear way to say if the benefits of reading are going to be replaced.
With all the changes and advances in technology and the way people consume media, the HHS library is changing to accommodate the needs and wants of students.
“…I think in general, the library’s changing; where it used to be kind of the space where you would just come, read books, quietly, not talk, that’s changing and I think we have to embrace that,” said Ms. McDaniel. “A library can be more than just a place to come and read and be quiet and study.” .
The library is slowly bringing in new technology, and there are plans for a renovation. The makerspace portion of the library already has two 3-D printers and a sticker cutter. A sewing machine will also be added, according to Ms. McDaniel.
“I think including the students in changes in the library is super important, at least to me, because the library’s a space for [the students], so we want to make the right changes and we want to make changes that will benefit the student body,” said Ms. McDaniel.
While the library is trying to bring in more equipment to get kids thinking and creating, the necessity of reading is still a question to be answered.
“You’re not going to be able to function in life if you don’t read in some fashion on a daily basis…You need to be able to read people’s expressions; it’s another way of perceiving what goes on in the world we live in,” said Mr. Murphy.
Reading, as Mr. Murphy mentioned, goes beyond just reading books, reading people and situations is a crucial part of understanding how the world works and what happens in it.
“And I don’t think you could ever have a broad enough range of knowledge or exposure to all kinds of texts. Intrapersonal texts, like you need to talk to people, listen to people and read people. And same with listening to music and painting and whatever it is. And they’re all equally important. It’s working on your brain in different ways and different people have different tastes and that’s fine,” said Mr. Murphy.
Mr. Murphy says that there are other ways to target your brain activity, and reading is just one of those ways.
“…I think that you should watch lots of [movies and TV shows], too. But that’s, you know…a different art form…” said Mr. Murphy.
Movies and TV shows are also stories, but they are told in a very different way that it still relatively new.
Some people are better inspired by things they see rather than things they read. However, in most books ready by high school students, the pages are filled with text. Books with pictures are generally geared towards young children.
Senior Elena Daly said that it’s the things she sees in the world that inspire her.
“I guess some of the best inspiration I get is…other people’s ideas… Someone giving me guidelines, basically, gives me inspiration ‘cause then…I’ll take that, and I’ll put my own spin on it,” Daly said.
People are influenced by what’s around them and, if they are interested, their own ideas will come with that.
Creativity is a broad term that is used as a character trait and ‘creative’ is a commonly used descriptor. The broadness of the term leaves a lot of room for what qualifies as creative. While reading is certainly an important facet in the development of critical thinking and creativity, there are other ways to find and pursue inspiration.