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Why Is Reading Better Than Watching TV?

Reading a Book

Girl reading a book

Girl reading a book

Reading Is Better Than Watching TV

I am convinced that reading is much better than watching TV.

If you look around, there are too many couch potatoes in the world today. Being addicted to TV is making many people overweight, less imaginative, narrow-minded in point of view, and politically easier to control.

People today are also reading less and instead playing games on their computers, smartphones, and I-pads.

In this article, I suggest seven reasons why reading is better than watching TV.

Reasons Why Reading Is Better Than Watching TV

Reading is better than watching TV for the following reasons

  1. Use of imagination
  2. You are actively involved
  3. You think more
  4. You learn new vocabulary better
  5. There is a wider variety of material
  6. Choice of point of view
  7. Less censorship

1. Use of Imagination

One of the greatest joys of reading is the use of your imagination. Because reading is an active skill, a reader obtains enjoyment by creating mental images from the words, sentences, and paragraphs in a book, newspaper, or magazine.

I have read many classic novels written by Charles Dickens. Using my imagination, I can recreate the setting and characters in a story much better than those portrayed in a television movie adapted from the novel.

Imagination in Reading

Imagination in Reading

Imagination in Reading

2. You Are Actively Involved

You are actively involved when reading. Conversely, watching TV is a passive activity.

When reading a novel, for example, you must use your imagination to reconstruct a setting. You also need to construct images of characters from the words and sentences in a story.

Critical thinking skills must also be employed to understand the plot and message an author is attempting to convey to readers.

Little or no thinking is used when watching TV. Visual images are conveyed that help you understand the setting and characters. Dialogue and tone of voice are also present to assist in understanding the plot and the author's message.

Active Involvement When Reading

Active involvement when reading

Active involvement when reading

3. You Think More

When watching TV, images are in front of you, and you have nothing to think about. Reading, however, requires activating previous knowledge to create images in a story.

You also have to apply inductive and deductive reasoning to analyze written arguments and determine whether they are valid or invalid.

Thinking When Reading

Thinking when reading

Thinking when reading

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4. You Learn New Vocabulary Better

In reading a book or article, you can always return to a new word or sentence you don't understand and try to figure it out. When watching TV, however, if you don't hear or see a word correctly the first time, you probably will never learn it.


Coronavirus disease related vocabulary

Coronavirus disease related vocabulary

5. There Is a Wider Variety of Material

There is a wider variety of material in books than what appears on television. It is possible to read a book about topics ranging from antiquity to science fiction in the future. Books and articles about any topic are now in print.

Topics appearing in television programs are limited for different reasons. The major reasons include censorship, support from sponsors, and ratings.

For example, if a program is pornographic, it will not be shown on major TV networks.

Television programs are paid for by commercial sponsors who advertise during breaks in a program. Some programs are not aired because they cannot attract sponsors.

Ratings also determine whether a program will appear on TV. If many people don't have an interest in the topic of a program, it will not be shown for lack of sponsors.


Variety of fruit

Variety of fruit

6. Choice of Point of View

You can choose books with more different points of view than selecting programs when channel surfing.

In watching TV, you are often forced to listen to and view a conservative or liberal point of view. The news will seldom be balanced.

When reading, however, you can choose socialist, fascist, communist, and democratic points of view expressed in books, magazines, newspapers, and newsletters.

Point of View

Point of view

Point of view

7. Less Censorship

Laws in the United States tell TV networks what and what not they may broadcast. If a program is too pornographic or violent, for example, it will not be shown on TV.

In authoritarian countries like China and Russia, the authorities control all aired programs.

Censorship is practiced much less for books, and it is harder to control.


Breasts of a woman that are censored

Breasts of a woman that are censored

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Paul Richard Kuehn

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