Being in the daily habit of reading even from a very young age can result in some wonderful side effects both physically, mentally and spiritually. What follows is a list of reading tips and the many reasons we should all be picking up a book every day.

The Top Ten Reasons to Read Anytime, Anywhere

1. The Impact of Reading on Your Education and Language Development

Not all of us are academics; however we all seem to agree that intelligent people are avid readers. Every cartoon, movie or television series always portrays the clever kids as the nerd wearing glasses reading a book. Our culture accepts that literacy runs parallel to intelligence.

The most effective way of becoming more knowledgeable in either a field of study or work is daily reading. Academics, tradesman and students alike are always encouraged to do extra reading on the topic they are learning about or working on because you can never know too much. The broader your background knowledge is of a particular subject the greater your success.

In order to be a proficient reader, it’s important to focus solely on what you are reading. This kind of focus means that you are able to take in all the nuances of language as well as the black and white facts. In other words, in order to be an exemplary reader, one must read between the lines and this is a skill that is honed over time and takes extensive practise.

There are some very skilful readers that have the ability to remember information exactly as it appears within a book or on a document. This is commonly known as having a photographic memory. It’s a rare gift and it is impossible to learn how to read like this, you are either born with it or not. But you can work on speed reading; a very useful reading strategy that involves skimming and word recognition.

girl reading book on sidewalk
No matter where you are, reading is always a great idea! ⎢Source: Unsplash

The point is, that it doesn’t matter how much you struggle to memorise or even if you have a learning disability like dyslexia. Your brain is an incredible muscle that’s waiting to be trained and you can do this by forming new habits such as reading, one book at a time.

By dedicating part of your day to reading and writing and various other brain exercises you can open your mind to successful learning.

2. Reading Broadens Your World-Knowledge

Reading doesn’t only build vocabulary but it also broadens your horizons and understanding of different cultures and world events. By spending time reading anything from newspaper articles to personal blogs or reading books about history, you are given a glimpse into other people’s thoughts and values. This kind of experience enables you to see the world through someone else’s eyes and this can have a tremendous impact on your sense of self and others.

People who make a habit of reading the newspaper at breakfast for instance, are one step ahead when it comes to striking up a conversation or being prepared for change in the economy or political landscape of the country. Reading resources, including newspapers such as the Cape Argus provides the reading audience with a broad variety of information from sport and culture to national and international politics.

Some of the preferred nonfiction books amongst scholars are historical works because they give us an understanding of the impact of historical events on our lives today.

Simply reading a novel set in a particular time period can give the reader an in-depth understanding of how society functioned at the time. This is a fun way to learn history while sharpening reading skills.

3. Reading Improves Your English

Many will agree that the key to proficient writing skills is good reading habits. This is because as we read quality literature we automatically expand our language skills as we learn how to read with comprehension.

Basically, we grow to understand how good writing should be structured while at the same time improving our reading comprehension skills.

Reading and spelling are closely linked and reading can also improve your grammar, syntax and punctuation. Another one of the benefits of reading is that you can teach yourself new, unfamiliar words as you go along, which is a fantastic exercise if English is your second language.

seated man reading newspaper
Reading the daily paper will expand your mind. ⎢Source: Unsplash

To remain confined to practising reading skills on classical literature would be a great waste. Today, more than ever, we have access to such a wide array of good quality reading material. There’s an endless amount of wonderful online publications from reputable news sites to personal blogs and the list continues. The more we read the more we learn about both language and general knowledge.

Poetry is a literary form that’s often viewed as confusing and intimidating, but in truth it’s one of the most colourful forms of literature and definitely worth a try. Remember that poetry is meant to be read out loud with ease and fluency in order to grasp its true meaning. Reading aloud highlights literary devices like rhyming and alliteration. There are numerous literacy skills that can be gained from the simple study of poetry.

Broadening your education by reading is possible every time you pick up a book. Whether you are reading an e-book on your kindle or chapter books from school, you are absorbing information.

Read a book that is intellectually challenging or a light-hearted magazine article, it really doesn’t matter.

As long as you are reading a wide variety of literary works you will be building your vocabulary and even improving your spoken language.

4. Why Is Reading Important for Concentration?

We are constantly bombarded by all manner of distraction. Our phones are always by our side alerting us to emails, texts and activity on our social media platforms. This constant interruption means that we are less productive and struggle to focus all our attention to the task at hand.

If you love reading, it trains you to remain focused on one thing at a time.

This is why it’s so important to spend time reading to children. There is no end to the benefits of reading aloud; kids learn to have more valuable social interactions as they practise listening skills which results in greater success in school and eventually the work place.

dad reading book to baby
Start by reading picture books to babies and young children. ⎢Source: Unsplash

5. Reading Cultivates Critical Thinking

To be a critical thinker is essential. Through reading one learns to analyse and when this is paired with a developing focus, interpretation of even complicated text becomes a very gratifying task.

In short, if you develop a love of reading it will open up a whole new world of ideas that would have otherwise evaded you. And it’s not to say that you are merely able to absorb a greater quantity of other people’s written ideas, but that you will form conclusions of your own as you read analytically. This all means that your overall communication skills will improve by leaps and bounds.

Feeling the confidence to critique various forms of literature will also help to establish what writing style and form you best enjoy. Soon you will be able to recommend books to friends and family!

6. Read Your Way to Good Health

As mentioned, the brain is a muscle and therefore needs to be exercised in order to remain strong and efficient.

According to research, activities such as reading can actually stunt or completely cancel age related illnesses like Alzheimer’s.

The importance of reading is also highlighted by the positive effects that it has on your memory and increased propensity to retain knowledge.

Technology doesn’t excite older people as much as it does the younger generation which means that the elderly are more limited to the type of literature they are able to get their hands on. However there is still plenty out there to read, such as newspapers that go to print daily, monthly magazines and well stocked libraries.

woman reading book on beach
Learn to relax by picking up a book and reading wherever you are.⎢Source: Unsplash

No matter who you are, there is reading material out there for everyone’s brain!

7. The More You Read, the Braver You’ll Get!

Okay, maybe “brave” is a long shot, but truth-be-told, according to scientific evidence there’s a link between high IQ's and performing somewhat crazy stunts.

No one said categorically that it’s the reading that actually makes you to push the boundaries but what we’re getting at here is that reading makes you smart. If you have a high IQ then you need to be smart so it could be that the reading helped you to get your IQ way up there. And if that’s the case then by default reading could make you a greater risk taker, which isn’t always a bad thing!

8. Reading Makes You More Positive and Relaxed

We’ve established that reading is good for the brain and can make you perform better both academically and at work. Another great advantage is that reading also benefits our emotional well-being because it’s a calming activity. Everyone needs to de-stress and reading a good book or a positive news story can help you escape from everyday worries while at the same time stimulating your brain. In other words, reading is an intelligent way of switching off to the world and catching some “me time” which is sometimes needed to avoid feeling overwhelmed by life and circumstances.

9. Reading Makes Us Peaceful and Serene

The act of reading is good for the soul. Many can attest to the calming effect that reading can have on someone who is unhinged. There are plenty of people who always make sure they have books to read before going to sleep as it helps to get them ready for a good night’s rest.

This doesn’t mean we should only read before bed time if we want to feel more peaceful. To read a good book in the middle of the day as a break is a wonderful means to recharge the batteries. Some people like to escape to the fantasy world of the story they are reading and others feel that the reading just takes their minds away from their cares, which can be a relief.

10. Let the Written Word Entertain You

Learning to read as a means of entertainment is the cheapest and least intrusive way to have fun. Reading can be done anywhere, any time and often at no cost.

reading on kindle
Read e-books for free! ⎢Source: Unsplash

If you think that you can often scoop up a bargain at your local book store (or even online) and buy a paperback novel for under R150.00, that will cost you less than a trip for two to the movies! Plus, a book can provide you with a week’s worth of entertainment as opposed to just two short hours of fun and you’ll have something to add to your book collection too.

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Be a Bookworm, There's No Excuse!

Like everything, the literary world is making huge advances and there are plenty of great books that can be downloaded for free in an effort to create publicity for new writers and their writing styles.

This means that we really have no more excuses not to practise our reading skills because there are simply plenty of free books to read. And if you feel overwhelmed by a whole book then consider reading a news article on your next tea break or finding an interesting blog that you can follow from week to week.

Sometimes it’s tempting just to scroll through your Facebook page and laugh at silly memes. But next time, think of all the benefits of reading, and instead cast your eye on a humorous column!

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