I could not imagine my life without books, I absolutely love to read. As part of my Library Newsletter I usually do a very short interview with a teacher about reading. One of the questions I ask is “If I say ‘Book’ what is the first word that comes into your head”. Most have replied with such words as escapism, relaxation, time-out etc. These words also reflect my view on reading and what reading means to me. But simple enjoyment is not the only reason to pick up a book, there are now many scientific reasons why people should read:
1. You could do better in school
A number of studies (OECD, PISA, ALA) have shown that the more a student reads the more likely they will do well in school. Reading can expand their vocabulary, help them learn new things and improve their concentration. According to PISA “on average students who read daily for enjoyment score the equivalent of one-and-a-half years of schooling better than those who do not.”
2. Reading can help reduce stress
Galaxy chocolate commissioned research that showed that even if a person only reads for 6 minutes it can reduce their stress levels by two thirds. Reading actually came above walking, listening to music or having a cup of tea. Psychologists believed that because the human mind has to concentrate when reading the distraction of entering a literary world can ease tension.
3. Reading can make you more empathetic
According to research, reading a work of fiction might actually influence a person’s empathy. Results showed that people that were ‘emotionally transported’ by a work of fiction experienced boosts in empathy.
4. Reading can make you happy
In 2013, the Book Trust conducted a survey on the read habits of 1500 UK adults. A part of their finds including:
- People who read books are significantly more likely to be happy and content with their life.
- Most people who read books feel this improves their life. It also makes them feel good
5. Reading could keep your brain sharp
A study, carried out by the Journal of Neurology showed that mentally stimulating exercises such as reading earlier and later on in life can help slow memory decline. The study included 294 participants who died at an average age of 89. It found that people who exercised their minds later in life had a 32 percent lower rate of mental decline compared to their peers with average mental activity. The rate of decline amongst those with infrequent mental activity, on the other hand, was 48 percent faster than the average group. So, no matter what age we are in life we should never underestimate the effect of reading.