The importance of reading was realized early in time such that masters limited the ability of their servants and slaves through the denial of books and learning. It’s was clear even then that learning was very important in the development of the mind. Books were seen as a way to open the mind and increase ones intellect. The view was that by teaching the slave, one made them unmanageable. Therefore reading and knowledge were merely invisible shackles that were used by masters and lords to bound their slaves and servants.
Therefore reading is a means of acquiring freedom. Freedom here can be the departure from ignorance, ignorance which is the greatest mind binder. Learning through reading provides the mind a much needed activity that helps it exercise its thinking capacity. This was the fear of the masters that by giving the slaves the power to read, they would be giving them the ability to think.