The surprising benefits of reading

Dana Ryals, Librarian

Whether you love it or loathe it, it is well known that reading has substantial lifelong benefits for ourselves and our children. If you find yourself in the group of those that don’t read outside of class, perhaps this article will serve as an inspiration to try something new in 2016 – becoming a reader. There are many reasons to kick back and relax with a good book. This is not by any means an exhaustive list, but below are a few great reasons why we should all read.

Readers are smarter

As professor emeritus Stephen Krashen has been publishing for decades, people who read for pleasure are smarter in almost every area than people who do not read. Readers enjoy a higher GPA, higher intelligence, and greater general knowledge as has been evidenced over and again through research. Additionally, readers have better vocabularies and are better writers, making them better students. Every time we pick up a book, we see example upon example of good writing and sentence structure, we come across new words, and we always learn something new!

Readers have less stress

In 2009, the University of Sussex led a study that revealed that reading for pleasure reduces stress by 68%. This is greater than listening to music or sipping a hot cup of tea. This comes from leaving your own realities behind and entering into a literary world. Give it a try!

Readers empathize better

A 2013 study by psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano proved that reading literary fiction increases our ability to understand the minds and emotions of others and to interpret social relationships within societies. These skills are critical in everyday life to connect, make friends, and find love. As we are social animals, this is good news.

Awesome Children

Reading aloud to our children is and always will be the best thing we can do for them. This builds a strong relationship between us and our kiddos, and who doesn’t want that? It teaches them early literacy skills such as vocabulary, pronunciation, and speech.

They learn logical thinking skills when they can guess what happens next, and of course, it benefits academic excellence, as a student that can read the homework will always excel over those that can’t. Additionally, our children learn the great skills of concentration and discipline, and learn that reading is a great leisure activity, increasing the odds that they will grow up to be readers.