Reading is critical for engaging in the knowledge economy. Here’re ten key benefits of reading.
Believe it or not, reading has many benefits that can help improve your life in various ways. So the next time you have some free time, consider picking up a book instead of watching television or browsing the internet. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the benefits of reading a book and why it’s such an important activity.
Let’s get started. You may be surprised at just how much book reading can enrich your life.
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The benefits of reading a book
The benefits of reading a book are abundant. Not only does it make you more knowledgeable, but it can also improve your mental health, decrease stress levels, expand your worldview, help you stay sharp mentally, and much more.
Reading truly is an activity that can enrich your existence.
The benefits of reading include:
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Boosts creativity
- Improves concentration and focus
- Improves writing skills
- Boosts emotional intelligence
- Enriches your mind and imagination
- Lets you travel without moving
- Helps you stay sharp
- Increases your vocabulary
- Is an important life skill
"A book is a gift you can open again and again." - Garrison Keillor
1. Reading a book reduces stress and anxiety
One of the most common benefits of reading a book is to reduce stress and anxiety. In fact, reading will help you calm down and improve your mood.
It’s amazing how easily you can forget your surroundings and get lost within the world of the book.
2. Reading a book boosts creativity
Reading books that captures your imagination is one of the best ways to boost creativity. Actually, the act of reading has been linked to creating mental pictures, which can also spark creativity.
As such, you will often find yourself thinking about what you just read and daydreaming while you try to do other things.
Reading also allows us to explore different ideas about ourselves, our lives and the world.
Reading fiction in particular allows us to create these imaginary worlds. In fact, many top films are inspired by books.
3. Reading a book improves concentration and focus
Readers have been found to out-perform non-readers in tests of mental acuity. This is because complex texts creates complex memories which requires more brain power.
Non fiction books in particular teach you something new. And, the process of learning requires your brain to form new connections and keep them active, which can lead eventually to long term memories.
This also means you might find that the brain becomes more efficient at extracting information from text as a result of reading.
4. Reading books improve your writing skills
There is a reason why a lot of highly successful public figures encourage people to read – it makes us better writers. Lots of writers will tell you that they write best when they have a book in their hands.
"Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope." - Kofi Annan
5. Reading boosts emotional intelligence
Reading can also improve your emotional intelligence. In fact, many novels were written to enlighten and inform a larger audience about social mores (acceptable behavior, customs, and norms) and struggles of other people.
Most importantly, reading books convey ideas and stories that can help improve empathy.
Essentially, reading connects us, helps us better understand human nature and relate to each other.
Although people say that reading is a solitary activity – it’s not, because you read with your heart and mind and emotions and spirit.
6. Reading enriches your mind and imagination
Reading is one of the easiest ways to get educated and enrich your mind without having to attend expensive classes or seminars.
You can learn about different life experiences, view new perspectives on issues, expand your vocabulary, and so much more.
7. Reading a book lets you travel without moving
Exploring new places and learning about other cultures is one of the most rewarding aspects about traveling. However, many people never leave their hometown, let alone the country.
Because you’re just reading words on a page, rather than physically visiting these places, reading allows you to travel without moving.
Fortunately, travelling through internal or external journeys can be cathartic, soothing or exciting depending on what you’re reading.
8. Reading books can help you stay sharp
As we age, our brains become less able to remember things.
This is because our brains start losing their plasticity, becoming less amicable to change.
Since research has found that the act of reading helps increase your brain’s plasticity, it can help you fight off these age-related memory loss effects.
9. Reading increases your vocabulary
I’m sure you know that reading exposes us to thousands of words a day. Because of this, it’s no surprise that reading is beneficial because it can help you learn new words and increase your vocabulary.
"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." - Frederick Douglass
10. Reading books is an important life skill
Life skills are self-help concepts and techniques that can improve many areas of your life. One example of a life skill is goal setting, which can help you achieve whatever you desire in life.
In fact, reading often gives people the opportunity to learn about new life skills and concepts they may not have been aware of before.
Will reading make you smarter?
Reading can make you smarter because it boosts your memory, improves your ability to make quick logical decisions and can teach you how to think in ways that you were previously unable to (such as solving complex mathematical equations or understanding complicated scientific theories).
Does pleasure reading increase academic performance?
While there is no one study that can confirm a direct link, research suggests that reading is linked to increased academic performance and literacy rates.
According to a study of 65 participants, students who read books for pleasure averaged higher scores than their non-reading counterparts in Mathematics, History, Science and English (Whitten et al., 2016)
Another study showed that most leisure readers enjoyed reading and engaged in mental imagery, i.e., seeing images of the story in their mind’s eye.
However, boys who did not enjoy reading for leisure had the poorest school performance (Mol & Jolles, 2014).
How can I develop the habit of reading?
This is a question that I get asked a lot, and it’s one that I struggled with for many years. Of course I was very diligent to read all the books that were required for school.
However, I was never a particularly avid pleasure reader. However, over the years I’ve developed some strategies that have helped me to become a more consistent reader.
One of the most important things is to find books that you’re actually interested in. If you’re trying to read something just for the sake of it, you’re much less likely to stick with it.
Another helpful trick is to set aside some time each day for reading, even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes. Once you make reading a part of your daily routine, it will start to feel like a more natural habit.
Also, don’t be afraid to give yourself permission to take breaks. If you find yourself getting bored or frustrated, put the book down and come back to it another time.
The more enjoyable reading is, the more likely you are to stick with it. Read more
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What’s stopping us from reading more?
The answer to this question is complex, and there is no single answer.
In our fast-paced, technological world, it’s difficult to find the time to sit down and read a book.
In addition, with so much information available at our fingertips, it can be tempting to skim through articles or watch videos instead of reading.
However, reading has numerous benefits that make it worth the effort. Discover 9 reasons why we don’t read more
Final words on the benefits of reading a book
Reading has many benefits, from improving vocabulary and grammar to helping us understand other cultures. It can also help improve our memory, focus and critical thinking skills.
In a world where information is constantly at our fingertips, it’s more important than ever to make time for reading.
What are some of the ways you make time for reading? How have books or articles helped you in your personal or professional life? Let me know in the comments below!
"Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his needs, is good for him." - Maya Angelou
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Mol SE, Jolles J. Reading enjoyment amongst non-leisure readers can affect achievement in secondary school. Front Psychol. 2014 Oct 27;5:1214.
Whitten C, Labby S, Sullivan S (2016) The impact of Pleasure Reading on Academic Success
The Journal of Multidisciplinary Graduate Research, Volume 2, Article 4, pp. 48-64.