"DEAR Day" was introduced by the Department of Education starting this January to cultivate the students' love for reading and eventually address comprehension and literacy problems that beset this generation's young learners. This encourages learners to read a book of their choice independently and silently for a relatively short period during class periods every Friday. This is part of implementing Catch-Up Fridays across elementary and secondary schools and community learning centers (CLCs) nationwide which allows the Fridays of January for DEAR activities.
In my observation, the pressing concern that every one of us must look into is the emergence of technologies that affect our reading habits, such as the advent of tablets, phones, and other multi-app gadgets. These gadgets have numerous applications from games to photo and video apps since software developers have made it a point to provide practically everything that we take interest in, including books, magazines, and other reading materials consumed in their digital forms. This so-called “digitalization” has caused immense disadvantages to the printing industry as several people have switched to digital versions of almost all printed materials. Now we’re talking of e-books and Kindle apps which make digital reading highly possible nowadays.
A paperless society is one of the highest goals that Microsoft founder Bill Gates aims to accomplish before he dies. During a speaking engagement at the Royal Spanish Academy years ago, Gates explains his goal of “putting an end to paper and then to books.” Following his judgment that books are “anachronistic objects”, Gates firmly believes that “computer screens can replace paper in all the functions that paper has heretofore assumed.” Gates further enumerated the advantages of using computers in place of books and paper—first, it is a less onerous duty to bring several books at once and the space that books may occupy may be done away with since storing the digital copies in an iPad or a tablet is very convenient. Second, the electronic transmission of news and literature will have ecological advantages by saving more trees and thus alleviating the destruction of forests. Gates’ end in sight is seeing people continuing to read, but this time, reading on computer screens.
The above modernistic reading approach may seem very convenient for most of us, we cannot however disregard the disadvantages that go along with this. For one, prolonged reading using a computer or a gadget has bad effects in our health, especially on our eyes. Another is the limitation of electrical gadgets, especially when there is a power interruption or when your laptop goes out of charge.
I believe that achieving a perfect balance between reading books and digital reading is the way to go. Reading books should be a de rigueur interest in the early years of childhood, and once nurtured until the older years, then the convenience of digital reading may be enjoyed as a luxury that reading grown-ups can be entitled to. As the saying goes, we always have to learn the basics first.