GRE Issue Essay 227

“Contemporary society offers so many ways of learning that reading books is no longer very important.”

It is true that the modern world now has various sources for imbibing knowledge and acquiring information, but the importance of reading as the primary source of learning cannot be questioned. The understanding of various facets of knowledge can be made easy only by books. Books have long since been held as reliable media for storing authentic information. Television, newspapers, internet and word of mouth do serve as alternate sources of learning, but as far as the basic learning process is concerned, one has to resort to reading books. Therefore, the ways of learning offered by contemporary society are quite useful but this does not mean that one can ignore the importance of reading books as a part of the process of learning.

One of the most important aspects of learning is the ability to read and write. One must be able to read whatever has been presented in a visual representation and one should have the capability to write in order to understand the correct procedure for writing. A child starts the learning process by reading books. Since time immemorial, mothers have been reading bedtime stories to their children while putting them to sleep. Why is this practice followed by most educated parents across the world? This is because it is a well known fact that a child learns by hearing sounds and recognizing familiar shapes. This is how he understands language as well as the nuances of reading. Can informative television channels replace books at this stage of learning?

Irrespective of how educative a kids channel might be, parents refrain from letting their children be glued to the television the whole day long. The internet may be a vast reservoir of information, but minors are barred from accessing the internet in some countries and even if there is no such restriction in a particular country, parents seldom allow children to learn from the internet. This is because apart from the learning aspect, the internet holds an enormous stock of web content that may not be suitable for children. Moreover, one cannot refute the damaging effects on eyes and neck by sitting on the computer for long hours and watching television endlessly. On the other hand, no parent would ever stop his child from reading books even if he is stuck to books for a major part of the day. Reading books has always been upheld as a very useful hobby and parents try their level best to inculcate this habit into their children.

The most important aspect of information available on television and internet is the reliability of the information. A web site may present you with information related to any aspect of science. How can one ascertain the authenticity of the web content? It would be risky to learn the concepts provided by a web site unless you are absolutely sure of the reliability of the information being provided. Most of the television channels broadcast informative programs, but would all these programs be providing information that is fundamentally correct?

On the contrary, books published by reputed writers have been used to provide education in the past and they have all passed the test of time. They have been found to be useful and the information provided by them has been accorded to be authentic. Therefore, it is always a better option to gain as much knowledge as possible by reading books. The alternate methods for learning that have been provided by contemporary society can be used as supplements for enhancing your knowledge. However, it is necessary to build a knowledge base by reading books first. Therefore, one cannot underestimate the importance of reading books in the process of learning in any respect whatsoever.