Reading is important, and its value can’t be overestimated when it comes to both adults and children. It might easily help you develop your own way of thinking and point of view; it gives you endless knowledge on various topics (depending on what you like and choose) and broadens your horizons – all while keeping your mind active and you entertained. Reading helps you learn faster, sharpen your perception skills, understand the world and its people better – in short, reading can simply make you smarter. Not to mention that it significantly expands your vocabulary and hones your thinking skills, improving focus and concentration, as well as critical thinking.
But before you start preparing your reading list, let’s explore the details of why reading is important.
Why Is Reading Important?
The written word has a unique ability to hold and keep knowledge, stories, experience, thoughts, and even feelings – unlike anything else in this world. As such, it’s difficult to wonder why so many readers recommend practicing your reading skills.
Can it all truly be so beneficial and healthy? Definitely yes – and all while providing a great source of entertainment.
“Reading a book, and taking the time to ruminate and make inferences and engage the imaginational processing, is more cognitively enriching, without a doubt, than the short little bits that you might get if you’re into the 30-second digital mode.” – Ken Pugh (President of Haskins Laboratories)
In fact, for years before the movies were invented and the theater wasn’t always available to all, reading had been the only form of personal entertainment, and perhaps this is why it has been in the spotlight for such a long time. The written word, later developed into literature, had survived the years from the moment when people first started to learn to read and write. Luckily, the benefits of reading books are just as true as the survival of literature.
Below you will find all the benefits of reading:
11 Benefits Of Reading
1. Cognitive Mental Stimulation and Brain Exercising
Reading is not only highly entertaining if you know what you’re looking for – it also supports your mental health, keeping your perception and analytical thinking skills sharp, preventing your mind from sinking into apathy. By concentrating on the words, the flow, or the storyline (in the case of fiction), you stimulate your brain and improve cognitive functions; this is also why it’s so beneficial to encourage children and high school students to read more. These brain activities tighten your focus and help you focus on something important, which can particularly benefit elementary school children. That’s why it’s encouraged for parents to start reading with their children as soon as possible.
Regular reading doesn’t just help with your critical thinking, but it also improves your brain function. Consider what happens when you work a muscle every day. That muscle grows and becomes much stronger than before, improving your motion range, endurance, and other abilities. Reading books might work much the same way for your mind. Think about how many people today have Alzheimer’s disease. While there’s no cure for it, reading and other mind exercises have been proven to prevent or delay dementia.
2. Vocabulary and Knowledge Expansion
When you read books, especially in a foreign language but also in your native one, you will sooner or later come across a few words you don’t quite understand in a certain context – or even recognize at all. You will probably end up looking them up in a dictionary, discovering new meanings, and expanding your vocabulary. The act of searching for definitions and examples helps your brain retain this new information, i.e., vocabulary expansion.
Consider how far your vocabulary has come since you first learned to read. While you don’t see as many strange words right now as when you were six, you are still learning, becoming more sophisticated, learning to express yourself.
How does it benefit you? Well, after some time of regular reading, looking up new words, and seeing them in different contexts, your vocabulary will grow; thus, your language skills will improve. You will be able to express your thoughts and feelings better. As the study conducted and published by the University Of Oregon, apart from the obvious linguistic benefits, it can also influence, for example, your career path and salary.
3. Lower Stress Levels
While most readers know that reading is simply a great form of entertainment, they might not realize that reading can help you lower stress levels. Yes, it’s true – when you try to focus on what you read, and you immerse yourself in a story, you relieve your mind of anxiety, calm down and even reduce your blood pressure. By pulling your mind away from the stress at hand, you can relax and forget about that stressful day at school or work.
As you probably already know, stress can significantly affect your daily life and decrease its quality; what’s more, prolonged stress can even be harmful to your overall health. Both fiction and non-fiction literature can help you solve this issue, or at least offer some additional help. Allow your mind and body to relax by focusing on something you enjoy and are interested in. Once you establish a reading routine, you will soon see the difference in how you feel on a daily basis.
4. Help with Depression and Dysthymia
Reading can be of great help in the case of depressive episodes and mood disorders, especially if you decide to read some self-help, motivational guides, or stories. Since we’ve already established how it can help you lower your stress levels, it won’t come as a surprise that it also stimulates the part of your brain responsible for fighting depression. Self-development books or stories full of the author’s experience with mental health issues can help you ease your symptoms or at least get some perspective.
The worst state for someone with depression or another mood disorder is apathy. And reading can provide enough stimulation to prevent that. Not to mention that many books and other texts can truly lift your spirit, improve your mood, or even make you laugh. It won’t replace an effective therapy or medications but can certainly be of great help – much like a painkiller won’t help with the source of your joint pain but will increase your daily life quality.
5. Memory Improvement and Better Focus
Though we have already discussed some aspects of how reading can influence your mental health and abilities, there are other things worth mentioning here. According to the NCU blog, our minds can think a million different things a minute. Reading every day (even a little) can help readers improve their ability to focus. Reading is a great exercise for patience and concentration, which is especially beneficial to children, who are still in the middle of their development.
Reading simply forces you to focus – but in an enjoyable way. Otherwise, you won’t understand what you’re reading – and you want to follow the story, right? The more you read, the better your memory and attention will get.
6. Better Writing Abilities
Apart from health benefits, books can help a reader to improve in other aspects as well. Reading is vital if you are a writer yourself – and it doesn’t matter if you write books, articles, ads, whether you do it for fun or work. Thanks to this, you will improve your own skills and become a well-rounded individual in general.
There are several ways in which books can help a reader to become a better writer. First of all, you can simply read writing guides and tips. However, when you’re reading, you are also improving your writing skills without even realizing it at the moment. For example, you’re building your vocabulary while getting to know more and more stories, which allows you to determine what works for the storyline and what should be avoided.
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7. Imagination and Empathy Enhancement
Reading and hearing stories force you to use your imagination – you need to picture the places and characters in your head. Moreover, if a story is captivating, you will develop your own theories about where it’s going. Logically, the more you read, the more immersed you are in these fictional worlds and events, which is vital particularly for the developing minds of children.
While some people (even readers) tend to dismiss the importance of reading and imagination in daily life, it can actually be a beneficial tool in problem-solving or dealing with difficult situations.
Furthermore, it’s imagination that helps us become more empathetic toward others, which can actually make us better human beings. Through reading, you get to see different worlds and meet various people, which will significantly contribute to the way you perceive the whole range of events and situations.
8. Better Sleep
Did you know that reading can also help you sleep better? We don’t mean that a boring book can help you fall asleep – though you might benefit from such a read as well. However, what we mean is that if you start reading books you enjoy, it will contribute to improving your overall sleep quality, sleeping patterns, and how you deal with restfulness.
Since it relieves stress and helps you relax, it can pull you into a deep and peaceful sleep. Moreover, you can spend time reading just before bed to calm your mind and take it off stressful things to fall asleep quickly and peacefully. It is easier for readers to establish a healthy routine, just like a bedtime story does for children.
9. Peace and Entertainment
The entertainment value is probably the most obvious benefit of reading books – and also one of the most common reasons children and adults decide to read. There aren’t many more enjoyable activities for readers than opening a book with crips, white pages, and immersing in it, forgetting all about the outside world.
What’s more, reading is a hobby that doesn’t require a lot from you. No matter how tired you are, as long as you don’t fall asleep while sitting, you can enjoy a good book in peace. Words can bring you tranquility and comfort whenever you need them.
Long story short, readers can be happier, as books bring some joy even when you’ve had a challenging day. Whether you read to calm yourself down before you go to bed, or you like to start your day with a book while commuting, you can be sure to find numerous reasons to be happy about.
Books offer a moment of peace in an otherwise busy world. Among all the other activities you fill your day with, reading can certainly make a difference and help you feel a little better. It’s something you usually do on your own, so it’s an excellent choice for someone who feels overwhelmed and triggered by their daily life and other people.
11. Broader Mind
Books allow you to see life from a completely different perspective. Reading about a certain culture, for example, can help you to understand how these people differ from you. You might not agree with everything they stand for, but at least you’ll look at things from a new angle.
For instance, if you are a western woman who was to read a book or article on feminism written by a Muslim woman, you could start seeing things from her perspective. It’s a big world out there, and reading is one way to expand your mind to all the possibilities.
That’s why a variety of books should be included in all teaching programs around the world. Children and our common future would benefit greatly from teaching our kids about other people, cultures, and their points of view.
So, why is reading good for you?
Books are truly wonderful, providing both entertainment and various health benefits. They can help you with building vocabulary, honing your writing and language skills, improve your memory and make sure your brain stays in good condition. The books you choose should depend on your preferences and goals, but whether it’s a mystery novel or a self-development guide, you are sure to get what you’re looking for. Whatever you choose, you can count on the multiple benefits of reading to help both your mind and body.
You are bound to enjoy books when you’re reading purely for pleasure and you know what you like, no matter the circumstances. There’s a reason why heavy readers will always have a book in their hands; like no other thing, it can help you take your mind off things, release you of your worries, even if just for a little bit.
As a reader, you might not think about how you develop every time you take a book into your hands, but from stress relief to dementia prevention, books are here to serve and help you improve.
So, take a challenge and improve your reading habits today!
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