The Benefits of Reading

Written by: Vivian Huynh – Grade 11

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Ever since elementary school, teachers have been consistently telling us to read more. Many of them even scheduled specific times during class where they want us to only focus on reading. Day by day, we seem to be getting busier, and spending less or no time reading. Not to mention, technology has become a critical part of our daily lives and a main source of entertainment. Many of us spend time watching TV shows or movies during our spare time, instead of curling up with a good book. In fact, I’m going to be listing some of the reasons why you should consider reading novels more often!

1. Knowledge

As you read, you’re constantly learning. The new information is being absorbed by your mind as you read each sentence. This doesn’t only apply to non-fiction books like the textbooks you sometimes have to read for school. Knowledge can be gained from fiction books too. Rather than just stating the facts, fiction books can teach us more about human beings, and more specifically, life lessons. Some of the lessons from To Kill a Mockingbird, for instance, include history, equality, courage, respect, and different perspectives.

“Knowledge is Power”

-Francis Bacon

2. Building on language

Reading does a great job at improving our language arts skills. It increases vocabulary since a large variety of words are used. Even better, it’s easier to learn words while reading because the words are found in context. Additionally, as you read more books, you’re exposed to authors with unique writing styles. This influences our personal writing styles. It also improves our fluency and grammar in that language. Not to mention, reading books is essential for learning new languages.

3. Improves brain function and analytical skills

The activity of reading works different parts of the brain. It refines your memory. Studies have shown that people who read are at a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia [Source]. This is because reading is a mentally stimulating activity. In addition, reading improves your analytical skills because you’re required to analyze the details and critique the plot.

4. Improves creativity

Fiction books are a form of creative writing. It’s no surprise that reading novels improves your creativity. Not only does it expand your imagination and visualization, reading also allows you to slip into the shoes of someone else. As a result, your ability to empathize and your understanding of others is improved.

5. Increases attention span

Multitasking trends have increased over the years due to technological advancements and the increase of social media use. Multitasking is vital for many activities, such as playing instruments or driving. However, some activities require more focus, and multitasking disrupts the activity. For example, doing homework and studying. Reading helps us increase our attention span and think without distractions. Therefore, concentration improves.

6. Decreases stress

If you’re in need of a stress reliever, reading is a wonderful solution. It successfully distracts you from the present moment. You have the ability to escape reality and arrive in a different world during a different time period. Reading is a great way to ease your tensions and make your problems disappear. As well, it’s great entertainment.

7. Improves sleep

Many people recommend reading a book in order to “wind down” before going to sleep. Reading helps us disengage from the day. Personally, I have to read a boring book if I need to read a book before bed. Otherwise, I’d get sucked into the book because I just have to find out what happens next.

If you didn’t already know, digital devices tend to suppress the hormone that helps us sleep [Source]. As a matter of fact, reading digital books will most likely keep you awake instead of helping you fall asleep. So make sure you’re using an actual paper copy of the book if you plan on getting good quality sleep!

Although this article was aimed towards the benefits of reading fiction, reading non-fiction during your spare time isn’t a bad idea either.

Image:  School vector designed by Freepik

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