Why reading is important is a question most parents have heard from kids or even their partners. You’ve probably heard it a hundred times or more – read, it’s good for you! But does anyone actually answer your question of ‘why reading is good for you?’
Scientific Benefits of Reading
- Boost brain power – in the same way that going for a run improves your cardiovascular fitness, reading will help enhance your memory and brain function. As we get older, both these functions tend to decline. Regular reading can significantly delay this decline as well as helping to prevent the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Reading helps your mental sharpness to stick around a little longer, much more so than watching a movie!
- Reducing stress – immersing yourself with a good page-turner can help switch off from the pressures of day-to-day life. Research suggest that even reading a book for a mere six minutes after a stressful day is a great way to relax and recharge the batteries, even more so than listening to music – another favorable stress-busting technique. Try reading for a few minutes each day, or on your commute to work (providing your not driving of course!)
- Improves empathy – understanding others will lead to positive and long-lasting relationships. Engaging with literary characters can help the brain make connections that help the reader understand other points of view and help with recognizing emotions. Just like athletes use visualization techniques to improve muscle memory to enhance their sporting performance, reading novels can help brain connectivity.
Why Reading is Good for Your Health
- Increases motivation – people who read books about people doing things, fact or fiction, are more likely to engage in the activity themselves. This could be drastic and crazy such as climbing mountains or taking on large travel adventures, or simple like taking up a new hobby such as cooking or knitting.
- Can combat poor mental health – improving mental health often goes hand in hand with reducing stress, but reading about others in similar situations is useful too. Biographies are great way to understand that you are not alone in your battle, and the large number of self-help books allows people to access advice and guidance from the comfort of their own home without stigma or embarrassment. Naturally, professional medical advice should also be sought.
- Independent thinking – characters and plots are often portrayed in ways to sway our thinking. Authors usually deliberately make characters likable or loathed, but every so often we come across a book that makes us think outside the typical box. You may like the story, but not the characters, or vice-versa. This highlights our individuality and makes for great conversation when discussing a book with others.
- Armchair education – reading biographies and other factual or historical books will provide an abundance of knowledge. Even reading articles such as this one will teach you something. However, even fictional books based around true events or set in specific historical periods will captivate us even more and we learn without even realizing it!
Old School Paper Books vs Modern Day e-Readers
- Sleep better – including reading as part of a bedtime routine can help signal to your body that the time for sleep is near. However, using an e-reader can actually wake the brain up courtesy of the backlit screen. Reading a printed book by a lamp is a much better way to slow the body down and prepare for a good night’s rest. Plus it aids in all the other ways that we’re covering here.
- Improves memory function – turning pages will actually help you remember what you have read more so than ‘clicking’ to the next page. Many people may find this is the reason they print important documents rather than reading them off a computer screen. Books also allow for easier flicking back and forth to help remember important events or characters.
How Does Reading Make You Smarter?
- Reading can help children develop a longer attention span, and when it comes to schooling this one has obvious benefits. Because stories have a structure that includes and beginning, middle and end, children are captivated for a fairly lengthy amount of time.
- Exposure to vocabulary – reading exposes students to around 50% more words than television or even conversation. As children, and adults for that matter, read they come across new words regularly. These new words then tend to be used in conversation and writing. Using a larger array of words will make you not only sound more intelligent, but you will generally be more intelligent. In the case of students, those that have a larger vocabulary are more likely to gain attention from their teachers which can improve confidence and promote further learning.
- Improved reading comprehension, spelling, grammar is seen in those children who read for fun. Creating a love and habit for reading at an early age has a profoundly positive impact on education. Exposure through story time, following parental leads and positive encouragement, are all ways to promote reading.
- Developing the imagination and creativity. Children who read do not necessarily go on to be writers, journalists or editors. The creative part of the brain is wide.y used when students read – they imagine themselves in the story line. Creativity is the key to success in many careers, and so much of it can be gained from reading!
- Reading provides entertainment you can take anywhere! Books, especially those developed for children are often small and portable. E-readers are even more compact and can store thousands of stories. Whether a child is camping, waiting for the bus, eating a snack or preparing for bed – reading can be done virtually anywhere, any time! No more “I’m bored” statements!
Hopefully you’ve got a few ideas of why reading is important and what reading can do for you at this point? If so, then the goal of our post was successful! And if you need help with reading this year or if you are prepping for the SAT Reading test and want to improve your skills for life as well as a big test, then we can help with that! Whatever the case, the next time you get a few minutes, find yourself a good book on any topic and get started reading!