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“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”, is one of the most well-known quotes by Benjamin Franklin. The ability to read gives you access to unlimited knowledge and the good news is that you have this ability. With a few dollars and a few hours of your time, you can learn from the smartest and greatest humans who have walked the earth.
If you’re a teacher, encouraging your students to read and getting them into a habit of reading is one of the best things you can do for their education. This will give them the ability to learn more on their own outside of the classroom and make them lifelong learners.
Here are ten reasons why you and your students should read daily:
1) Brain exercise.
Just like our body needs exercise from frequent movement, our brain also needs exercise from frequent stimulation. Unlike watching TV, reading is an active process where you have to construct meaning from text. Different readers will interpret the text in different ways, so your mind is actively working to come up with an interpretation of its own. Reading also trains your memory as you have to remember details about the characters, settings and plot to make sense of the book.
2) Expand your knowledge.
When you read a book – whether fiction or non-fiction – you are learning things you didn’t know before. Increasing your knowledge improves your cognitive processes and makes you a better problem solver. All of this means that you become a smarter person and will significantly increase your probabilities of success in the future. It also makes you a more interesting and sociable person, as you’ll have more to share in conversations.
3. Free form of entertainment.
Free reading materials are available all over the internet and in public libraries. Reading can be extremely fun as you enter the book’s world and let your imagination run. Whether it’s through reading about the life of a famous person, a historical event or a fantasy world, reading can keep you entertained for hours on end. Many movies or TV shows you love are based on books, so why not read the original text that inspired these productions?
4. Improve your concentration.
Concentration is a rare skill in today’s day and age as new information is coming at us faster than we can process it. With the rise of TikTok and other social media platforms that are out to shorten our attention span, young people are finding it harder than ever to concentrate on tasks that require active thinking. The good news is you can train your concentration by reading! Set a timer to read for a certain amount of time (e.g. 20 minutes) each day and don’t check your phone or do any other activities until the timer goes off.
5. Get motivated.
Whether you’re reading the biography of a famous person or a nonfiction story, there’ll always be something that sparks motivation. It could be an antagonist who overcame much adversity or a traveler who followed their dream to see the world. No matter what you read, you will be encouraged in different areas of your life. If you lack the motivation to do something, pick up a self-development book and it may kickstart you in the right direction.
6. Grow your vocabulary.
The average native English speaker knows about 20,000 words, but did you know there’s an estimated 170,000 words in the English language? Reading books is a great way to learn new words and expand your vocabulary, even in your native language. The foundation of all thinking and communication stems from the vocabulary we have. So reading more books will make you a better thinker and communicator.
7. Get better at writing.
The best writers are avid readers and writing is a skill that is vital to communication. Being able to write well is a sign of being able to think well. If you can provide clear instructions, persuade someone to do something or recall an interesting event in detail through writing, that is very powerful. The more you read, the more writing styles you’re exposed to and this will ultimately make you a better writer.
8. Be a more critical thinker.
Different writers and different genres offer us different perspectives on life. Reading a variety of materials gives us insight to different ways of thinking. We’ve all met people who easily believe what they see or are stuck on what they believe because they were never exposed to other viewpoints. When you read, you become more analytical of information that comes your way and you make smarter decisions. This can be a life-saving skill.
9. Improve your sleep.
Reading can help your mind and body relax and destress. When you’re immersed in a book, you are transported to another realm and may forget about your problems for the time being. Rather than scrolling through social media before bed, which can increase anxiety and decrease sleepiness, read a book instead to get your body into a state of relaxation.
10. Become more empathetic.
Reading will expose you to the lives and stories of people you’ve never known. It’ll open your mind to other cultures and other backgrounds. Books allow us to experience realities outside of our own, allowing us to relate to others who we may not otherwise come across. Being able to understand and share the feelings of others is the best way to decrease global conflicts and to be more tolerant and accepting of those different from us.
We hope you enjoyed this article and can share it with your friends. What’s your favorite book of all time? Let us know in the comments section below!