The benefits of reading

By: Mary Koch & Ella Sutherland

Reading is important. Although it may not be as fun as watching a movie or TV show, it’s much better for your mind and body.

Reading is an easy way to wind down, especially after a stressful day. Just reading for a few minutes everyday is proven to be more effective than an entire yoga session. Having something to take our minds off the day can be beneficial in getting a good night’s sleep. Unlike your phone or the TV, a book can help you relax before bed which is always important.

Reading helps to strengthen overall brain function and increase memory. Scientists found that it can lower beta-amyloid, which is a brain protein connected Alzheimer’s, by keeping the mind ready and active. When you read your brain is becoming more creative and more imaginative. If you need to remember something it is easier to do if you read it aloud.

Your brain needs to stay active, and reading is a good way to do that. You don’t need to be reading non fiction or a textbook either; it’s best if you read something that interests you, so you’ll pay attention and maybe learn something. Reading helps with memorization, vocabulary, and communication skills. Those are all important skills not only in school, but in life when you’re applying for jobs or trying to get promotions.

If you have trouble focusing on everyday tasks or hard ones, reading can improve your focus and concentration skills. When you read something that you are interested in it forces you to really think about what you are reading and therefore helps you focus more. If you continue reading everyday, or as much as you can, I believe that your concentration levels will increase by a lot.

Mental health and mental illness can even be affected by reading habits. It’s become so common that it has a name, bibliotherapy, and bibliotherapists will give books they think will help especially with things like grief, anxiety, and depression. Fiction books are often used because when people can relate to the characters it’s easier to connect with them and understand your own feelings. Depression can make people feel alone, and reading can give people an outlet, and it can make people feel like they have a safe place.

Reading can improve your writing skills as well. If you read different styles of writing you will be more open to trying different writing techniques. If you start reading and you pay more attention to the author’s writing style, then it will help you find your own writing style.

Reading can also help in medical recovery. It can alleviate stress while your body is trying to repair itself. For example heart attack patients have found reading poetry beneficial during their recovery.

Reading can help people empathize with each other by showing situations and how they make people feel. It also exposes people to more emotions they might not see or feel in everyday life which is something that not everyone has access to.

When asking other students how they felt about reading most responses were positive. One 9th grader said, “I think it helps people understand new topics and expand their imaginations.”

Another student said, “It can distract you from reality which is a nice change.”

Reading is a great resource for school too. Being able to find a book when you want to learn about something is a great skill, and you’ll likely learn more than you would by looking up answers on Google.

Next time you have some free time before you turn on the TV, try picking up a book. You might be surprised at how fun and interesting reading can be.

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