Monday, September 17, 2012
How Reading Changed My Life
I was born in Brazil and only moved to the States when I was eleven, I spoke no English mind you except for the classics like: "I want cheeseburger" or "How are you?" and so forth, this obviously put me in an interesting place when starting my education in the states. Middle School is rough for kids that are a bit different, I was no exception, put a Brazilian kid that knows little English in there and you got yourself an easy target for jokes and mockery. At the time strength was what got me out of the radar, a bit of muscle here and there and people just tend to leave you alone afterward. It took me a while to finally find a way to learn the language better, and after a few months I finally knew what the direction I needed to take, reading, that was the answer to my language problem.
For me reading started slowly, my vocabulary was miniscule so big books were out of the picture, so I started with kids books, picking up anything I could to read as much as possible. My mother used to take us to the library a bit so that helped as well, good parenting is always a great aid. I focused on simple exercises like listening to a song and reading the lyrics, trying to understand the meaning of the song and the dictation in order to be able to sing each particular song well. I'm not a great singer so obviously that was a difficult thing. This was the beginning process before getting to "real" books, it was children's books, music, comic books, magazines and eventually I worked my discipline enough and learned enough English to read "real" books. It was one of the most defining accomplishments till that point in my life, I was about fourteen at the time.
I'll always remember the first "real" book I read in English, "Lord Of The Rings", it took me like 3 months to read the whole thing but the sense of accomplishment from reading it was a high I had never had before, like beating a really hard game, or winning a tough sports match, this was my tiny awesome victory. So this adventure into reading took off and more and more books began to be added to my collection, I also at this time got very into comic books thus graphic novels started being added to my collection as well, and through this process, slowly but surely not only did I start to read faster and comprehend more and more but my speech got better, my writing got better and my critical thinking also improved significantly.
I originally started reading in order to improve my vocabulary but never did I expect, in my young mind, that reading would improve my life so much, it was as if every book I consumed changed me little by little. By the time I reached 10th grade I moved on to heavier material, I picked up Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard and Plato. Looking back I understand that these four where not the best way to start my philosophy education but I knew nothing about the subject so how was I to know where to start, keep in mind this were pre-wikipedia days. So diving in to the deep end of the pool my education continued and learning heavier material increased my understanding of the world, life, and aided me in being a better writer, thinker and also aided my speech as well, reading kinda does that.
This process continued way into College and Grad School, it is one of the major things that separates student's skill in the classroom. Reading is one of the best ways to help you in life, it'll increase your imagination, it'll aid you in your critical thinking, it'll help your writing and it'll expand your vocabulary. There are a ton of benefits that come from reading, and I've experienced a few of those withing my own life. I encourage you to pick up a book this month and start setting a reading goal per year, something like 10-20 books is a good average, if you can do more then do so, I personally read a lot more as well, but 10-20 is a good start. You'll see the benefits right away, it's like exercising but for your mind, it seems like a good thing to exercise.
Hope you all had a great weekend and pray that this coming week might be a great one for you.
Love from your humble blogger,