Readers are Leaders

Readers are Leaders

NOTE: “Leadership Reflections” shares views of the different members of the University Leadership Council on matters related to campus life and the operations of the University. As well, it features opinions on issues of national and/or international relevance.

Readers are Leaders, Leaders are Readers
By Dr. Earl Jude Paul Cleope
Dean of the College of Education & Supervising Dean of the School of Basic Education

Ray Bradbury once said, “You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

This bold statement captures the importance of reading in a nutshell. Reading has been around since the dawn of time, and will not be going anywhere any time soon. Reading allows us, as humans, to capture periods of time that we would not otherwise be able to capture. I hear talk of needing a time machine in this increasingly digital age, yet in reality one already exists – try reading a book.

Reading allows us to capture various concepts, ideas, and philosophies, all the while fueling our desire to learn. Reading allows us access to the great minds of our past, to learn from humanities’ mistakes, and encourages us to dream big. Reading fulfills the curious Juan or Juana that what lies deep inside each and every one of us is the capacity to be great. Reading is one of the greatest tools to increase our well being, and the best thing about it, it doesn't cost as much as one buys load for a cell phone in a week. Too often the benefits of reading are overlooked.

The reasons, why people read, are just as numerous as the genres of books we find on the shelves of libraries and book stores. From the Bible to Shakespeare, from science fiction to technical specs… we read in order to educate ourselves, to learn about a specific subject, to meet job requirements and, of course, for pure enjoyment. But why is reading really so important?

Let me go back to history a bit. Thousands of years ago all civilizations like the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Chinese, Indians and Greeks had already developed a written language. Everywhere we have found written language having been integrated into culture. We have also found an extensive wealth of technology more advanced than we would normally imagine. What was clear was that those who knew how to read controlled the civilizations; and we knew about the contributions of these civilizations because they wrote about themselves and we read about them. Yet it would seem also that the ruling class tried to keep the people dumb, thus being unable to think for themselves made those who lacked the knowledge dependent on those who ruled over them.

Today, society has embraced reading as a tool of gaining unlimited power of mind. It develops faster and faster towards a yet unknown state of self-realization.

It is unfortunate but as time progresses, reading has and will continue to decline. The reason? Our world has become increasingly fast-paced, there are many other exciting and thrilling options available, aside from books. It is up to us to prevent this downward trend. Rarely do people make the time necessary to read, instead wasting their time on trivial things that will not make a difference minutes later. In short there are just so many distractions out there. A great deal of society considers reading useless and boring when in fact reading provides a great form of entertainment only if we allow it. With the great amount of entertainment provided to us in our increasingly hectic world, who has time to read? Play-station, video games iPods and other gizmos do provide entertainment but they need batteries and power to operate.

Any one says reading is “boring” or not “worth” it is sadly mistaken. Our school systems should put a specific emphasis on the importance of discovering books that fit specific individual's needs. One of the reasons I believe young adults are becoming increasingly less interested in books is because many schools feed them literature that lacks relevance, and when all is said and done, relevance is what fuels the desire to read.

Many of the Philippines’ greatest minds put great emphasis on reading. Greats such as Jose Rizal, Ninoy Aquino and Claro M. Recto were known to constantly read. It is no coincidence that they were some of the most intelligent beings to ever grace our nation.

Reading is essential in finding happiness. Reading forces our mind to go into deep thought, to contemplate beliefs in which we call our own. Reading constantly challenges us to re-examine life as we know it. Too often we get in a rhythm in terms of our beliefs and, consequently are often ignorant of other people’s opinions. Reading allows us to reap a general understanding of a concept or idea all the while giving us the opportunity to decide what we believe for our self.

As teenagers living in a fast-paced world, you always think that it is difficult to find time to read. But if your goal is to make yourselves better persons, you have to find time to read. Reading will prove to be beneficial in your later years. By reading means having a “buy one, take one” kind of arrangement – you are learning while being entertained. There is no better feeling than when you find yourself lost in a book that captivates your innermost self.

Reading is difficult to master, but as with all things: practice makes perfect. The more you read the easier it becomes. The more you read, the more enjoyable it becomes. The more you read the easier it is to understand complex ideas. The more you read, the more intelligent you come. The more you read, the more peaceful you become.


Reading provides an imaginary place to hide from reality. It takes your mind to places that your physical body may never be able to visit.

Reading allows you to fantasize about being anything from an Iron Man to a futuristic super-hero with inter-planetary powers or be like Zohan.


In history, it allowed the masses to read the Bible and make up their own mind about its contents.

It currently allows us to learn foreign languages and thereby, absorb the differing points of view from cultures around the world.

For example, in our day and age, there are serious conflicts between Israel, most Arab Countries and the Western world.

Just imagine for a moment, if you were able to read Arabic and Hebrew as fluently as you read English – and that you had access to Arab and Israeli newspapers, history books (current and historical), and modern literature/poetry.

This would give you the ability to understand different points of view and cultures – from first-hand accounts on all sides of the conflict, rather than being dependent on what you're told in English.

This knowledge could change the way you think, it could change the way you view disagreements between people, cultures, nations.

Reading empowers the mind, expands our understanding of the world around us and ignites the imagination to dream and envision things that are impossible in the physical world.

Reading is not just important; it's vital.

In modern times, owing to the drastic change of circumstances, sophisticated technology and literacy are strongly needed for our nation's progress. Unfortunately, the literate people generally do not have the reading habit. According to a survey, literate people on the average read a page a year. This is, indeed, alarming. The reading habit is declining especially among our young ones who would rather spend their time and money on computer games, watching television and other exciting activities.

Reading dispels boredom because it is highly entertaining and interesting. It is among the best and most beneficial hobbies. It is unquestionably cheap and it can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere and anytime. No other hobby boasts of these advantages. For instance, once a reader starts reading an interesting book, he or she might even forgo his meals just to finish it.

A person can either read for his or her own pleasure or read out of necessity. This is an essential way to improve ourselves besides getting well-equipped. Reading is a lifelong hobby as one can enjoy it even in old age. One can never lose interest in reading as it is a good and relaxing means of passing their idle time. Moreover, it is not an expensive hobby compared to playing golf or taking piano lessons. Besides, those who cannot afford to purchase books can frequent the library to enjoy the hobby.

But just as it is with any learned skill, practice makes perfect. Once a young person, or adult for that matter, has crossed the physical barrier of what words mean, and stringing sentences and chapters together, reading all of a sudden becomes a wonderful and new means of entertainment. When you are able to read a book without focusing on each word or sentence, or counting the number of pages you've read, the experience is like watching a movie in your mind.

Undoubtedly, reading is an eye-opener. Vast knowledge is gained through reading. Books take us to faraway lands and different periods of time. We can also know more about exotic customs through all kinds of materials like poems and stories. We are able to learn about past events, people elsewhere and other useful and latest information. This widens our outlook of life without having to travel around the world.

Reading on the lives of great men teaches us how they react in adverse situations. Reading about them makes us humble. In addition, reading religious books also develops our character and molds us into a better person. It maturates and molds a person who possesses higher self-esteem and self-confidence. We get to enjoy peace of mind through reading.

A person who likes reading has a new world opened to him. Nowadays, it is a must to keep up with the latest news and information. Therefore, we should read newspapers daily to keep up with the current social issues and important events around the world. This is of utmost importance to us as this enables us to keep abreast with the latest happenings and discoveries.

Only avid readers can write and speak well. They impress their listeners with careful and appropriate choice of words. Usually, their words carry weight as the listeners respect them. Through reading, we learn to express our ideas clearly and even when we have a bone to pick with someone, we can voice our criticism politely to avoid unpleasantness.

The best and swiftest way to learn a language is through sufficient reading. No amount of money and time spent at courses can offset the inadequacy due to the lack of reading. Unquestionably, learning a language is not just answering given questions in workbooks. We learn about grammar, idioms, proverbs, prepositions and other essential parts of speech in a language. We get to enjoy the beauty of language by just reading.

If there is one skill worth learning, it is reading. Today, you cannot really afford not being able to read, and reading is the one thing that allows you to learn more about virtually anything, without actually experiencing it.

Words composed of letters, sentences composed of words, books composed of sentences – they all bring pictures, stories, events and emotions to life in our minds and help us to comprehend things that would otherwise remain unknown to us.

Reading is important; and reading a variety of books can help you to create and interpret your own ideas that are pertinent to the world around you. Individuals that read have a better command and control of the spoken language. Not only are they able to understand things better, but they can also put things down on paper better. Reading also helps you to think outside of the box. Thinking outside of the box gives you the power to be in control of your own learning and experiences. You don't make as many mistakes as you get through adolescence or through life as a young person or as an older adult.

With things about the world constantly changing, it is especially important to read effectively. Reading for comprehension, that is, understanding is critical for life success. Reading becomes critical when you need to understand exact instructions. Reading becomes necessary when you need to focus on specific details. Reading well enables you to do this and continue to keep up with the world. Can reading help one to be less stressed? Absolutely and because you can read, this skill for a fact, enables you to adjust to changes around you and with minimal stressors!

You can use your skills of reading and comprehension to create your own success story; to secure a good paying job, a career, or even become an entrepreneur. Individuals that have a better command and control of reading are more equipped to experience life in a positive light. They are the more successful individuals as far as having better paying jobs.

They are also the ones that when they speak, they can hold the listener's attention very well; and when they speak, they can persuade well. It is a given that the nature of our species gravitate towards not away from these types of well read individuals. 
These avid readers become salesmen of persuasion and people are usually impressed or mesmerized by their articulation.

Reading is more than just entertainment or education. It is the key to infinite knowledge. The process of reading is a mental exercise that builds the mind's ability to process information.

When you read you decode symbolic language into internally generated visual data. In short, you make your own movie in your mind. This process transforms information into a more permanent form of memory.

Self generated image files are a form of data easily stored and readily accessed and cross-referenced. Every book, magazine or article increases the available store of knowledge.

In the process reading also develops critical thinking skills. A reader is better able to deconstruct any form of presentation and detect flawed logic, suspect reasoning, or poorly structured story lines.

Reading also develops a large vocabulary.

Finally, I have read that Readers are leaders and Leaders are readers.

It's no coincidence that Presidents establish large libraries stocked largely with their own books and writings. You won't likely ever meet a CEO of a large company who doesn't read voraciously.

The lesson is clear: read early and read often, or be doomed forever to the abyss of ignorance.

In conclusion, the influences and the compliments of reading are many and allow you to effect more live skills and control within your realm. The plusses are so many that it doesn't make sense not to step up to the challenge and learn to read effectively. The challenge to each of us is a given; and that is read to succeed!

For those who do not read, it is high time they consider taking up this habit. Without a qualm of doubt, we will not feel lonely as books can be our best companions. I can assure them that they will have an enjoyable and enriching time if they start to pick up a book and read!

Reading has stood the test of time for a reason, because it is a part of humanity that will last till the end of the world. Indeed if we stop reading…then we will destroy humanity!