“Reading is important. If you know how to read, then the whole world opens up to you.” – Barack Obama
The journey of life starts from the moment we are born and throughout that journey, we explore the world that surrounds us. Since when we are babies we are presented with the outside world through our senses, like touching, hearing, seeing, and as we grow up we become more familiar with the outside world. Children are curious by nature, they are eager to learn and know everything. When they start to read, they use their mind to explore everything of interest to them. That is why reading is crucial in humans’ life; we can compare it with our senses like seeing or hearing. It’s an inseparable part of our growth. Joseph Addison has compared what reading is to the mind with what exercise is to the body.
It doesn’t do just that- reading presents to you a whole universe. As Rene Descartes said, reading enables you to converse with the finest minds of the past centuries. While Ben Okri has conveyed to us what reading can do. He confirms that the civilizations are a result of reading because the free material of the mind is expressed on raw material such as paper and made a book, sharing that wisdom, knowledge, emotion, experience with the rest of the world. The castles of possibilities are built through reading. Reading is the eyes of the past that look to build our future.
The Emotional Benefits of Reading Books
To other people, such as Anne Lamott, reading is a life journey that takes them to explore world after world, sing to you, comfort you, and excite you. Through books, people can help themselves to understand who they are, and their role in society. It shows how to live and die. In books many people have found their comfort, reading has eased people’s pain and suffering. Through reading they understand they are not alone, reading and writing have pulled people out of the darkest experiences in their lives. Alan Bennet states that the best moments in reading are those when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, even someone who is long dead. It is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.
When you read, you live another’s life and experiences. Books give us other centuries, other cultures, all kinds of people that we wouldn’t know otherwise. When you read you explore another world, which helps to expand your own. There are people that consider reading with a comforter in times of distress or a compass when they feel lost in life, and conscious when they need to awake themselves. In such times, people feel happiest when they read a book. They learn they are not alone, there are other people sharing the same feelings they feel. Through reading, they get to know themselves and go even deeper into it. The dialogue between reader and author is part of awakening and part of fellowship. It is impossible to feel entirely lonely as a reader. Reading can help create bonding not just between reader and author, but even between parent and children, or teacher and students, offering them attention, wisdom, and care. When you read it is easier to encourage your child to read, because children learn better through examples and modeling.
The Importance of Reading at an Early Age
Reading should not only be encouraged in school but in family as well. The benefits of reading are plenty. Children who learn and are encouraged to read at an early age have better comprehension skills, and thinking abilities. They welcome creative ideas better than other kids of their age. This enables them to grow up and become more intelligent, compared with peers who don’t read. Kids who read develop critical thinking skills, which are crucial in everyday decisions. Reading requires one to process and decode the information in a way that television can’t enable. The more you read, the deeper you understand. When you read, you develop analytical skills because you try to figure out how the story will end. Reading allows these skills to improve because you consider all aspects.
Reading Promotes Empathy
There are studies conducted that prove that reading can make you more empathetic towards the pain of others. You become part of the story when you read, and start to feel the same emotions and sufferings the characters of a book feel, allowing your mind to become aware of how things affect people. Eventually, reading improves your ability to better understand others The author of the book doesn’t give you just plain information or knowledge. He is giving you a part of his beliefs, experiences, pains, and sorrows, what he feels. He gives you a part of his life, a part of himself. Writers invite us to explore their psyche and hope that the reader will care and respond positively to it. Reading makes possible connecting with a writer we never met, of a different time and place. If we agree or not with him, we get to know them and connect to them on an emotional level.
What Happens to Your Brain When You Read?
Every category of people, no matter their social background, the status they have in society, their ethnicity or religion, gender, or age can draw benefits from reading. Reading can help with mental stimulation because it can slow (or even prevent) Alzheimer’s and dementia since reading keeps the brain active and prevents it from losing power. Just like a muscle, reading keeps the brain strong and healthy. It even reduces everyday stress. When you delve into a book, you lose yourself in it. A masterpiece takes you to different realms, while an engaging article can distract you and keep you in the present moment, letting tensions drain away and allowing you to relax.
Everything you read is information, and you can never know when it can be used. The more educated you are, the higher the chances are to succeed in life. The more you read, the more words you are exposed to, which will become part of your vocabulary. Having a vocabulary expansion will benefit every profession, and can boost your self-esteem. It could aid in your career, because being well-read, well-spoken, and an erudite on a variety of topics can help you get promotions more quickly and more often than others. Being exposed to a variety of books can affect your own writing, as other writers’ writing style will definitely affect your own work.
Whenever you read a book, you will definitely have to remember its character, their background, the plot, and the settings of the book. Brains are marvelous things and capable of remembering the constituents part of a book relatively easily. When you read a book, all your focus is on the story and the rest of the world is completely forgotten, immersing you in every detail of the book. What is even more amazing, every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthens the existing ones improving short-term memory and stabilizing mood.
Improved Thinking Skills
Those people who read develop stronger analytical thinking skills. They tend to find the mystery of the book before reaching the end. Doing this means putting critical and analytical thinking to work, taking note of all the important details. The very same ability comes when we have to analyze details of the plot; giving opinion if it is a well-written piece of literature, or the characters were properly developed, and if the storyline ran smoothly, etc. If you have to discuss the book with others you will be able to express your opinions clearly, because you have spent the time to really consider everything that has happened in the book.
Developing all these skills, which are necessary in all dimensions of life, can lead to self-confidence and self-esteem. Every human being has to find a place in society and feel useful. Society cannot function without reading skills. Wherever we go, whatever job or day-to-day activity cannot happen without reading. It is part of growing and functioning in society, giving your contribution for your benefit first, and then for others. If you want to find a job you should have better reading skills in order to absorb the information and react in the workplace.
Progress Through Reading
There is a saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Throughout the history of mankind, there are uncountable cases when an idea or thought has changed the course of the history of a nation. Change first happens in the mind. There are people whose minds are captivated and manipulated; all this because they are forbidden to read new and progressive ideas- for example, the time of the Middle Age. Every word you have read or heard has shaped who you are. Your future depends upon what you believe about yourself. The world around you depends upon it. Individuals, families, communities, and even nations are built from words, written or spoken. Reading is important because words are the foundation where the life of each one of us is built. Without reading nothing can stand.
- Anne Lamott, Joseph Addison, Rene Descartes, Ben Okri, Alan Bennett Quoted in “160 Quotes About Books & Reading”. KEEPINSPIRING.ME. Seale, Natalie. https://www.keepinspiring.me/quotes-about-books-and-reading/
- Barack Obama quoted in 50 Inspiring Quotes About Reading Books and Reading. CELADONBOOKS. Hargreaves, Stefanie. https://celadonbooks.com/inspiring-quotes-about-books-and-reading/
- 10 Reasons Why Reading is So Important. Natural BEACH LIVING https://www.naturalbeachliving.com/reasons-why-reading-is-so-important/
- Benson, Laura. Head Fuel and Heart Compass: A reading Love Letter. INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL SERVICES. Jan 10, 2020