This section contains information, facts, and worksheets on reading, spelling, grammar, literature, famous authors and more.
Did you know that humans are the only creatures on Earth that can read? Having evolved with uniquely advanced communication and cognitive abilities, humans have been able to preserve their knowledge, history and beliefs through time by coming up with a series of symbols that can be decoded to derive meaning. The ability to do this is called reading.
No matter what language you speak, there’s a corresponding writing system that can be read, understood and used to share information and ideas. The ability to read and write dates back thousands of years, beginning with primitive markings and pictograms and evolving into the modern scripts we know today. Some languages like English are read from left to right, while traditional Chinese reads in columns from top to bottom, and Arabic reads from right to left.
The ability to read is not innate, however, we’re not born knowing how to read and it’s a skill that needs to be taught and practiced, which is why in some poor nations there are many children and adults who cannot read due to a lack of education, conflict or social constraints. While people who can’t read can still survive, being illiterate puts them at a huge economic disadvantage and impacts their ability to live with dignity, which is why the United Nations regards literacy as a key component of basic human rights.
Reading isn’t easy for everyone – some people struggle with dyslexia, a reading disorder that makes it difficult for individuals to read, spell and write. Similarly, visual impairments can prevent someone from reading in the traditional sense, but the development of Braille by Louis Braille in 1824 opened up the world of reading to those who could learn the touch-based system.
The process of reading engages the brain in a wonderful way that conjures images and thoughts in your consciousness that can immerse you in the world of imagination, open your eyes to new ideas, teach you lessons from the past and share knowledge from different times, places and perspectives.
Through the development of the movable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1440s, reading material became much easier, cheaper and quicker to reproduce and reading, therefore, rapidly evolved from a skill reserved only for the elite to something the common man could engage in. This lead to an explosion of ideas, shifts in power, creativity and collaboration that brought an end to the dark ages and ushered in the Renaissance.
Even today, reading is changing the world. Through the Internet and social media and the ability of browsers to translate information into many languages at the click of a button, knowledge and ideas are proliferating at an unprecedented rate. It’s great to read, it’s exciting to read but most importantly, it’s powerful to read.
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