Salaam. Dear Reader,
Charles Duhigg coined the term ‘keystone habits’ to describe habits people adopt that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives. One example is that families with the habit of eating together tend to have children who score better grades at school and who are more confident. Another example is the habit of making your bed in the morning. People who do this regularly tend to be more efficient and more productive throughout the day. Mother was right after all.
When I encountered this idea of keystone habits I naturally thought about the habit of reading every day and how this particular habit affects all aspects of life. Readers statistically are more willing to volunteer, they have more stable relationships, have less stress, and have better health both physical and mental. These are the indirect effects of the reading habit over and above the more direct cognitive benefits such as the development – throughout the life of the reader – of the intellectual skills of analogy, inference, empathy, and critical analysis.
But there are bad habits that can become keystone habits as well, with associated unintended bad side effects. As pointed out in The Fiqh of Social Media, an uncritical indulgence in social media negatively impacts many facets of our lives including our relationships and our ability to contribute to positive change – we tend to become outrage junkies instead. Moreover, social media is a machine of mass distraction that affects how we approach text even beyond the long arm of social media.
Recognising the need to inculcate good reading habits and help overcome distraction, the National Library Board of Singapore started in 2021 a series of seminars on Reading in the Age of Distraction (RAD). RAD returns this year with four webinars over four Saturday mornings in July. The first seminar on 9 July, titled “Read to Focus: The Art of Focused Reading in an Age of Distraction ,” will feature the panellists Professor Emerita Naomi Baron (American University in Washington, DC), Associate Professor Loh Chin Ee (National Institute of Education), and moderator Ibrahim Tahir (Wardah Books).
The video recording for the series of seminars by the National Library Board on the theme of Reading in the Age of Distraction in July 2022 is available.
Please see click on the link below to access the recordings for: