MIDLAND, Texas — We read every day, whether it’s a restaurant menu or email from work. But how many of us read books on our own time?

"It can take you away to any places that you just don’t see or can’t get to from Midland," said bookworm Victoria Wantland.

"It helps pass the time and I always look for worthwhile books to see if I can get some inspiration on how to deal with my problem," said Donald Farris 

But why are more people deciding to make it a priority this year? 

“I’ve seen that a lot in social media. It’s like okay, my goal is to read 100 books this year, so I think people are slowly trying to realize the importance of reading and just basic literacy," said Alba Austin, Executive Director of The Permian Basin Adult Literacy Center.

And who wouldn’t? Countless studies have proven reading can do a number of things like increase your intelligence, learning capacity, vocabulary expansion, reading and writing skills and keep you mentally stimulated.

Are you looking for an opportunity to help others and get more invol... ved in your community? PBALC needs volunteer small group class and one-on-one instructors- apply now at https://pbalc.org/volunteers-permian-b.../ and make an impact on our student's lives! No prior teaching experience is required. Call (432) 682-9693 for more information.

“It also creates empathy with people. Like I said, the more you learn about whether it be different cultures or what’s happening in the community, then you’ll be not only more knowledgeable but you’ll have more information on whatever’s going on in the world," said Austin.

According to a Pew Research Center survey in 2019, 27% of U.S. adults say they haven’t read a book in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form.

“One thing I’ve noticed, especially with young people is they don’t talk anymore. They don’t know how to talk. All of their cell phone activity kind of creates a one-way street," said Farris. 

But hey, millennial's aren't the only demographic to pick on. Even locally, numbers show the Permian Basin is slacking due to the oil, gas and trucking industry. 

“If you just want to focus on Midland and Odessa, from just the recent stat information that we have, three out of four adults do not know how to read and write or are not proficient in any kind of literacy. That's a huge issue that we have to overcome here in the Midland/ Odessa area," said Austin.

But studies show if you dedicate just 20 minutes of reading, five times a day.. you can unlock multiple “cognitive vaults” you never knew you had.

For more information on the Permian Basin Adult Literacy Center you can visit the website.

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