Education Reading

The Theory of Everything; How Reading Evolved Throughout Years?

We have evolved a lot as a civilization, have we not? We have cars driving for themselves; planes have auto-pilots for a long time and, of course, the internet. Nonetheless, what was the most significant achievement of humans from the last few centuries has to be mass communication. Social media is a very fresh idea, television too, the radio came in swinging in 1894. Though, far before, centuries before, a book was written, the first-ever written book was in Archaic Cuneiform language somewhere around 3400 BC, in Sumerian civilization. Humans wanted to communicate on a larger scale in prehistoric times as well. And it is pretty clear that they are deeming reading fit for this purpose. This is precisely what we are going to discuss in this blog; the evolution of reading.

Words Without Spacing

In ancient times, precisely 2000 BC, when printing presses were not part of any of the books industry, authors used to dictate their books. More often than not, the dictation would sound like strings of uninterrupted letters. Scribes would write down words without any spacesmakingithard to read. This method is called the Phoenician alphabet. Until 11th-century no-spaces method writing was in use. It was an extremely hard task to read and understand texts written in the continuous script. Terror was such that only a few people were able to read the information out loud to others. The ability to read silently to oneself was a wooing skills. Only some people acquired it.

The 1000-Years Updates 

One thousand years passed, and Greeks added vowels to writing methods. It took Alexandrians 1000 more years to add punctuation to the written script. Manuscripts of 200 BC were the first record of text with proper punctuation marks. It was the genius of Aristophanes behind adding the punctuation in his scripts. Another 1000 years went by, and Medieval Scribes contributed invented lower-case characters for written language. This new upgrade was made public in 700 AD. In the 9th century, writing saw its last key update; they separated the words. It was two in two for the Medieval Scribes who previously added lower-case letters. Spacing widened the horizon of mass communication for the readers, and now more people were able to read. But fluent readers were regarded well. St. Ambrose and Julius Caesar were explicitly added to history books for being excellent readers. The writing was also still erratic expertise. The condition was so poor that in the 15th century, there were only 20 adult males in the European continent that knew how to write.

Introduction of Gutenberg’s Printing Press

Then in around 1440s, Gutenberg’s printing press came into existence, and mass production of books started with easier readability. Mass printing revolutionized the language by the constant addition of new words, which provided an expanded world of communication of human emotions. Soon we became people of the book. There was no looking back for humanity after this, and after six centuries, we are standing here with 4.5 billion digital screens. With our e-books and kindles, the world of reading is much changed then it used to be 1000 years ago. Unlike wooden planks or a piece of stone, we have tabs, billboards, computers, and, of course, phones, for mediums of reading. The world of reading is not black and white anymore, with the invention of new fonts, it is more colorful than the rainbow itself.

People of Screen 

Thanks to the digital metamorphosis of the society, we are the ‘people of the screen now.’ And it has again upgraded our reading method. The introduction of the first screen into the human world via television precious generation was worried that upcoming generations would not know how to read or write. But, with the second wave of screen revolution, launched an epidemic of reading and writing, which is still going strong. As a matter of fact, since 1980, the reading time of the human race has tippled. Technology is serving the reading and writing worlds widely with the blog culture, online news, and studies published. As per an estimate, 1.5 million blogs are updated daily on various websites on the internet. The great thing about screens is that we are always reading, no matter how little or much; screen reading is always going on. Unlike books that provide information only when you have opened one to read something.

Closing Note

So, this was a brief informative piece about the evaluation of reading. Reading has been vital in human evolution, and you can see how quickly it transformed the course of history when we mastered the art. It changed the way we think; we live and the way we treat fellow human beings. All great revolutions were carried out well-read individuals of the human race. As they say in a famous television series (based on a series of books), “Knowledge is power.”  

Anton White
Anton teaches computer science in a primary school and loves writing blogs in his free time. Exploring and learning new coding languages is his favorite hobby.