Reading has the ability to completely transform your life situation. Even though reading is required literacy teaching for schools, its application goes way beyond that of the academic setting. By harnessing the power of reading, ordinary people can develop skills that are otherwise inaccessible.
This post will cover 6 of the BEST reasons why you should get back into reading. And no, none of them are going to be learning objectives like “comprehension” or “fluency”. Hopefully, you've already mastered your reading skills in high school and can comprehend basic texts. This post isn't about reading instruction or reading strategies. It will instead discuss all of the applications reading has on your life as a whole.
You'll discover that reading is a lifelong activity. Also, you'll come to realize that reading ANYTHING is useful. Not just nonfiction or textbooks. When all is said and done, hopefully, you'll have a rekindled flame for reading.
The Power of Reading
Here are 6 of the best reasons why you should read.
No matter how proficient you are, when you read a book, you employ your memory! There are characters, sentences, and events (if you're reading a fiction book) that you need to remember for maximum fluency.
The cool thing is that the more you read, the better your memory gets. Think of your brain like a field of grass. The more you walk down a particular path, the more beaten down it gets, and the easier it is to take that same path the next time. When you read a lot, you're beating down your memory pathways.
Naturally, this helps focus your mind and increases your memory as well as build your background knowledge for the next time you read.
In the Bo Burman song “Welcome to the Internet“, there's one line that goes “can I interest you in everything, all of the time?” This line describes the internet and it couldn't be more true.
In today's day and age when all the information you could ever want is at your fingertips at all points in time, it's hard to really develop focus. One solution to this issue is reading!
When you read, all of your focus is on the book. If you're doing a read-aloud, this is even more true. Over time, all this practice of focusing adds up. All you need to do is read a couple of pages a day to develop a habit. And once you have a habit, you'll be on your way to focusing like a pro in no time.
Another perk of reading is that you'll gain new knowledge of words! You know that quirky friend/coworker you have that's always showing you up with new fancy vocabulary… you can do an uno-reverse on them one day if you read enough!
A trick I like to use is to keep a small dictionary of all the words I don't know. When I read, I jot down any new words and try to use at least one in conversation the next day. Some have been quite tough to fit in (like “ostentatious” or “phonics”), but in general this has really helped me build up my vocabulary.
You don't need to do this though. A step down is simply reading aloud. Still, the more you read (aloud or otherwise), the more your vocabulary will expand (naturally). Being well-spoken and articulate is a desirable trait to have in any skilled profession nowadays, so in a way, by reading a ton, you're not only having fun but also moving ahead in your career!
Entertainment / Stress Reduction
School and work can be really stressful. Sometimes, all you need is a little time to regroup and get your mind off things. But often you might be finding that scrolling around on your phone doesn't quite do the trick.
This is because phones still emit blue light, which is not good for reducing stress. A much better alternative is independent reading!
A good novel can bring you far far away from your daily life and help you really get away. How nice is that?! You get your very own vacation, without ever needing to step foot outside your house. The free entertainment and stress reduction that reading provides is unparalleled.
Better Writing Skills
When you read, not only will your comprehension skills go up, but so will your writing ability. Exposure to great pieces of literature has an effect on your writing abilities beyond just vocabulary words. Phrases and sentence structures that you were previously unfamiliar with become second nature.
You'll find that sooner or later, your writing works will start to be influenced by the pieces you read (in a good way!) This is when you know that you've really grasped something from your readings and are starting to apply it.
A good tip for increasing writing skills a lot in a short span of time is to select tough piece and work on decoding it. You can do this in the form of guided reading / shared reading or just on your own. Both will work to increase your reading fluency, which will in turn make you a better writer.
Analytical/Logical Thinking Skills
Believe it or not, reading books is actually instructional for logical thinking as well as creative thinking. If you've ever read a mystery novel, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Behind every good book, there's a ton of thinking that went behind its creation. AND, there's a ton of thinking involved in actually understanding its contents.
The ability to analyze details and piece together stories and facts in your head is something that reading books can provide you with.
Take Advantage of The Power of Reading!
Reading is by far one of the most useful things you can do with your time. Not only can you read for enjoyment, but it also has plenty of real-world applications. Here are 6 of the best reasons why you should read:
- Increased memory and reading comprehension from constantly engaging with texts.
- Sharpened focus (in a time and age where there is less and less of it).
- Added vocabulary guaranteed to make you sound smarter.
- Entertainment for you to unwind and destress.
- Better writing skills
- A boost to your logical and analytical skills
Bonus tip: if you want to accelerate the benefits of reading, teach someone to read! The principles of reciprocal teaching show that when you teach something, you yourself learn it better as well. It doesn't matter if you don't know how to teach, there are plenty of teaching strategies all over the internet. Teaching reading and comprehension strategies is a great way to gain all of the benefits of reading PLUS help someone else learn to read.
So, there you have it: the power of reading laid out right in front of you. What are you waiting for? Go out there and grab some books to read! It doesn't have to be personal finance or self-development, it can be anything you enjoy. The important point is that you get started. Trust me… your future self will thank you for it!
Jeff is a current Harvard student and author of the blog Financial Pupil who is passionate about learning, living, and sharing all things personal finance-related. He has experience working in the financial industry and enjoys the pursuit of financial freedom. Outside of blogging, he loves to cook, read, and golf in his spare time.