We all know reading is fun and enjoyable, but why do we read? What are the benefits of reading and why is reading important?
If you’re ever debating why you spend your time reading, or maybe you’re in a reading slump and need the motivation to get out of it, or perhaps you want to take up reading more often but are not sure why you should – then this guide will give you all the reasons why reading is important, not just for kids but for adults, too.
So, How Important Is Reading?
The reason why we need to read is so that we can learn and acquire information. From as simple as reading road signs to get directions, to reading menus to know what to order, to reading the local news online – according to research, we spend on average between 16-40 minutes per day reading, and this isn’t necessarily sitting down and reading a book.
It’s a no-brainer that reading is essential for our everyday lives. But what about reading books? How important is it to read books? Well, according to studies, reading books improves your physical and mental health. So it’s not just about enjoyment, it’s good for your mind too.
Why Is Reading Important For Adults?
For children, it’s easy to understand why they read – practice makes perfect. But for adults, we’ve already established phonics and know how to read, so why do we read?
As adults, you have way more worries and stresses than children. You have bills to pay, rent and mortgages, perhaps even children to look after, and retirement to think about. Oh how it would be great to be a kid again, right?
So it’s no surprise that 2 in 3 adults experience stress.
Reading is a great way to combat stress and improve your mood. If anything, it offers an escape from day to day life by taking you to an imaginary world run by fiction.
But reading is not just an escape, in fact, here are ten reasons why reading is important for adults…
10 Reasons Why Reading Is Important for Adults
So without further adu, here are 10 major reasons why reading is important for adults.
1. Improves mood and reduces stress
I mentioned earlier that reading is good for combatting stress. It’s not just about escaping real life for a minute, the process of reading actually lowers your heart rate and eases tension in your muscles.
In 2009, the University of Sussex found that 68% of people found their stress levels reduced after reading.
Reading also helps your brain operate more clearly. By using your brain to create images in your head, you are essentially giving it a gentle workout. Just like with our other muscles, the more you use it, the stronger it gets.
If you’re someone who is going through an emotional period and is struggling to make informed decisions, you may find that reading helps with this.
2. We can learn more by reading
Whether you’re reading fiction or non-fiction, reading is a great learning resource. Every book you ever read is written by someone else who has knowledge and wisdom to pass on through the pages.
It’s not just facts you can pick up from books, but social skills too. By reading, you form opinions of characters and your attitude towards them changes throughout the book. These attitudes and reflections can be used in your day to day life, and help you build better relationships with the people around you as you have a “back story” to compare them to.
Likewise in fiction stories, you may come across a social situation that you’ve not experienced in your life, and should it ever arise, you know how to deal with it.
3. It improves creativity and imagination
Reading fiction is the same as watching a movie, except you are painting a picture in your head. The act of reading requires you to use your imagination, which allows you to portray a story exactly how you like it – something that movies cannot give you.
It also helps improve your creativity. The process of reading allows you to experience something new, which you can then adapt and use in your day-to-day life.
4. It makes you interesting
Have you ever found yourself having conversations with friends and family where you have nothing to say to one another? Reading gives you something to talk about.
By sharing something you’ve learned from a book you’ve read or by sharing a story that speaks to you, you can impart some wisdom to others, which on the whole makes you more interesting. Completing reading challenges is another way to make you more interesting and give you something to talk about.
It can also make you smarter. According to Thomas C. Corley, 88% of rich people dedicate thirty minutes or more a day to reading. Why? To acquire more knowledge. That’s how the rich stay rich.
5. It improves your memory
Reading exercises the occipital lobe, the visual processing part of the brain. It’s also the part of the brain that creates an object and facial recognition and to put it simply, your memory.
By reading you are in effect giving the part of your brain that stores your memory a little workout. And as I mentioned earlier, just like your other muscles in your body, the more you use them the stronger they get.
6. It expands your vocabulary
As well as learning new facts, you can also learn new words. Reading helps you to improve your vocabulary and make you sound like a more eloquent person.
7. It improves your concentration
The act of reading tickles the prefrontal cortex of the brain which is what aids your concentration. This is the part of the brain that essentially works out puzzles, from solving mathematical equations to learning a new language.
Reading books helps to exercise this part of the brain as it requires you to decode language. You might not realize it, but every time you read you use your phonics knowledge to string words together. This act is decoding words.
By reading, you are using the part of your brain that uses your concentration skills and therefore strengthens it.
8. It helps you sleep
Going back to what I said earlier about reducing stress and relaxing your muscles, this also helps to create drowsiness. If you’re someone who suffers from insomnia or other sleeping disorders, reading can help put your mind in a more relaxed state which encourages you to fall asleep.
According to researchers, reading before bed can also help you stay asleep for longer, too.
9. It improves your emotional skills such as empathy and compassion
When you read fiction stories, you are introduced to characters who whether you like it or not, you form opinions on. You might love them, you might hate them, but how you choose to respond to them can be translated to your day to day life.
Often when we are met with characters in a book that we don’t like, we are given reasons for this. Reading helps us to understand why we feel the way we feel about people, and also understand why people behave in certain ways.
This makes us socially aware and wise to other people’s emotions. It can help us to be more empathetic when someone is behaving in a way we don’t like, as we may have come across similar instances in novels, and it also helps us to be compassionate. Reading teaches us that there are always two sides to a story – and put simply, we don’t know other people’s stories.
10. It cures boredom
An obvious one but an important one, reading cures boredom. While we can always put on a TV show on Netflix to kill time, how many times do you take out your phone and start doom scrolling on social media? And before you know it, an hour has passed and you’re wondering what you’re doing with your life?
If that sounds like you, then it might be time to pick up a book instead. Reading eliminates outside distractions, so it not only keeps you entertained but keeps you focused on something that doesn’t kill time in a needless way.
Final Word on Why Reading Is Important for Adults
So there you have it, those are 10 reasons why reading is important for adults. These reasons are all supported by science, so if you need any more convincing, just ask the scientists!
If you found this guide useful, or if you have any more reasons to add to this, feel free to write to us in the comments!