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The Joy of Reading

Reading is as much a part of my life as writing.

I have always loved to read, from being a very small child I remember asking for the same stories over and over again, my Dad still rolls his eyes if I mention “Daisy Dog’s Wake-up Book”. It was my favourite for a quite a long time I think.

As I got older and was able to read myself I always had a book with me, we had a big tall bookcase next to our bunkbeds so that I could reach my books from the top bunk and books were a godsend on wet caravanning holidays.

I loved reading a series so I really got to know the characters. Whether it was Meg and Mog, Dorrie the Little Witch, Famous Five, Secret Seven, Dr Dolittle, The Chronicles of Narnia… I could always find a series that captures me and allowed me to go off on adventures from the comfort of my own bed. 

Why is reading so important?

It probably doesn’t surprise you to learn that I love reading, I don’t really hide the fact that I love books. Why is reading so important though? Well, quite simply, the more you read the better your writing becomes. As an ex-teacher, you could always see the difference in the spelling and grammar between the children who read more confidently and those who didn’t enjoy reading. Obviously all children develop at different ages, and many caught up, and indeed overtook, their peers in time, but those children who just didn’t enjoy reading didn’t have the same grasp of language in their written work.

It’s obvious really that the more you read the more you see correct spellings, you learn grammatical rules just by hearing them so often that they become automatic and you learn new words and expand your own vocabulary too.

There is so much more to reading than just the benefits to your reading and writing styles though. It is proven that people who read more have greater levels of empathy than those who don’t, it reduces stress and even helps you sleep. 

Known benefits of reading

There are many known benefits to reading, here are just a few:

  • Strengthens your brain
  • Reduces Stress
  • Increases empathy
  • Helps you prepare for sleep
  • Builds vocabulary
  • Improves depression
  • Prevents alzheimers and dementia
  • It may even help you live longer!

 

Reading

Reading is a wonderful pass time. 

For me, reading is a way to travel without leaving my own home, a way to experience many lives as well as my own and a way to learn a myriad of things. As a life long learner reading is vital for my happiness.

I love to read. Do I read every day though? Well, I read something every day, I don’t always pick up my book to read every day though. I also don’t tend to set myself reading goals, or worry about reading so many books a month etc. For me this puts pressure on something which should be a joy. 

I do love to read, but sometimes my eyes are tired and I can’t concentrate on what I am reading. Like everyone, if I read when I am too tired I end up having to re-read huge sections again.

Reading shouldn’t be a competition. It should be pure pleasure. 

Audiobooks

The controversy of the audiobook

There is huge debate about whether audiobooks count when discussing books you have read. Why wouldn’t they? Admittedly there may not be all the benefits of reading a printed book, but you still experience the story, it could be argued that you experience it to a greater degree. 

My Dad has a divergent squint and gets terrible headaches when he reads for any period of time. Every night my Mum reads a chapter of the book they are reading together to him. 

It is one of the greatest acts of love I have ever witnessed. My Mum loves to read and she wants to enable Dad to experience the joy of these stories too. They could listen to audio books and that would be the same thing, but Mum chooses to read so they can stop and discuss things as they go along. It is beautiful. 

On a similar theme, we wouldn’t pass judgement over someone who had sight impairement for listening to audio books, they are a valid way to digest information and stories, especially in a busy world. Many people listen to books on their commute. This is a wonderful use of your time. What could be better?

Reading, in whatever form, should be joyful. Of course there are times when we have to read things, which may be less than enjoyable, but, if we are sitting down to read, we should look forward to that time. 

Whether we are reading a business book or a fantasy novel we are giving our time to that content and our time is precious. If you get part way through and you aren’t enjoying it, put it back on the shelf and read something else, you can always come back to it later. Sometimes we just aren’t in the right place to read that particular book.

reading

On another day we might not be able to put it down. There is nothing more wonderful than finding a book that we just want to keep reading. I can remember starting a few books over the years that I have ended up reading while making tea, while I get the children ready for bed (literally supervising toothbrushing while reading another few lines!), and not being able to sleep until I had finished. That is a good book. A book that draws you in and captivates you to such a degree is magical. If you have never experienced that feeling, don’t give up, the right book will find you. The right book can change your life forever, really.

The most important thing is that you keep reading though. Whatever it is you enjoy reading. You might love Young Adult fiction – great! Perhaps you love reading about Ancient Egypt or the internal workings of the combustion engine – brilliant! It doesn’t matter what you read, or even how much you read, the important thing is that you read. 

What is your favourite book? What is it about that book that you love so much? Let me know in the comments.

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