Re-defining reading for a re-defined world

Rio Popper, Staff Reporter

Over the past 20 years, our world has been changed: the introduction of the Internet, social media, Netflix and advancements in technology have altered almost everything.

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the magical ability that some people have to lose themselves behind the covers of a good book.

“I love to read,” freshman Maya Donovan said. “I read for the characters, and the story, and just the different world that’s in a book.”

Donovan is lucky. She knows how to read for pleasure. For other students, reading isn’t effortless and amazing.

“Reading is so much work,” freshman Andres Alas said.

But with the internet, iTunes, Kindles and other devices, reading, when done properly, isn’t work. It’s just about finding the right way to read.

Since I’m blind, when I was younger, my parents and teachers were strict about reading—I had to read in Braille, and I wasn’t allowed to listen to audiobooks (or books that my talking computer read out loud) except for special treats. When I was forced to read in Braille, I didn’t like to read. Like Alas said, it was work—grueling, boring work.

When I got to middle school, I decided that I wanted to be able to read the way kids like Donovan can; I wanted to meet imaginary friends and fight imaginary wars and live in imaginary worlds, and I realized that I couldn’t do that in Braille. I started listening to my books instead of reading them, full-time. I loved it. Now, I can “read” like Donovan. I can live in those amazing imaginary worlds.

I refuse to believe that my kind of reading is inferior (despite my mother claiming that I’m illiterate). Like Donovan, I am able to draw connections, enjoy characters and live in worlds other than our own. Reading isn’t the physical action of flipping pages and using your eyes to read tiny letters. If you want to read using audio books, or using a kindle, that’s fine too.

For me, audiobooks are the best way to enjoy literature. Others are different—Donovan prefers paper.

“For some people, audiobooks are great,” she said. “But, I don’t know why, I just love a paper book.”

The medium is unimportant, I’ve come to decide, so long as one is able to love the different worlds that books offer. If you can do that, you can read.