Saturday, September 1, 2012

Importance of Reading

Though illiteracy has been mostly eliminated in Korea (ranking 23rd in the world with a literacy rate of 99.0) it has not led to increased "thinking power," says Anastasia, the young woman recently interviewed by the Catholic Times. Describing herself as a "reading coach," she claims that learning to read well is the easiest and most economical  way to strengthen our thinking powers, enabling us to solve many issues that may now seem too vexing and difficult to face.

Even though we are now living in an information-filled digital world, where reading is more important than ever before, many people do not read or don't read well; her life's mission, she says, is to change this reality by working with anyone who shows an interest--the young and the old, individually or in groups--instructing them on how to become better readers. And in the process, she teaches them how to create personal myths which can be useful in guiding their way through life.

She developed the program, she says, believing that our thinking powers have to develop so that we can help ourselves and others become more thoughtful, discriminating people. One such benefit would be an enhanced ability to discern the hidden messages, often masquerading  as objective news coverage, disseminated by an increasingly agenda-driven media.

We shouldn't be fooled into thinking, she says, that, because we are more agile in thinking rapidly, our thinking  has become less shallow.  Knowing how to use search engines, she says, is one thing, to have a contemplative appreciation of life is another,

When she was in college, teaching part-time, she soon became aware that many students were having difficulty expressing themselves in writing, which spurred her interest in teaching reading skills. She went on to graduate school to take courses not only in education but in psychological counseling in order to develop  her abilities as a reading coach. After graduating, she opened her own educational center and would like to be instrumental in developing a culture more open to reading. Recently she was given a prize from the government, acknowledging the contributions she has made in this field.

As a Catholic, she expresses her disappointment that her fellow believers are not as interested in reading as are members of the Protestant Churches, but is hopeful that Catholics will soon begin to share their interest in reading.  She feels that more informed reading, especially in the field of spirituality, would do much to make our Catholics grow in the faith.

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