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Read

There are so many reasons to read.

We read the instructions on a food packet, the subtitles on a foreign language film, our friends’ social media posts, blogs, newspaper articles, books, magazines… the list is almost endless. 

From the moment we wake up we start reading. 

We read for such a wide range of purposes. Reading helps us to find out how to do things, like the instructions on food packets or an instruction manual. It might educate us about something, in the case of a blog post or newspaper article. We are able to learn about other people through their social media posts or a letter in the post – remember those? We are able to get information from someone we haven’t seen, when we get a note in our child’s school bag from their teacher. There are so many reasons to read.

 

When it comes to books though there are two main reasons most people read a book:

  • to learn something 
  • to experience things you may not be able to otherwise

Did you know there are many other benefits to reading though?

Reading can:

  • improve your vocabulary
  • reduce stress
  • improve brain function
  • help prevents dementia and alzheimers
  • improve your ability to focus
  • improve your general knowledge
  • encourage empathy
  • make you feel more positive
  • help you sleep better
  • improve memory
  • increase your problem solving ability
  • make you a better writer
  • expand your imagination
  • help you escape the stresses of every day life

Of course many of these benefits are associated with reading books, reading a blog on your phone, for example, probably won’t help you sleep. Reading the instructions on a food packets tends to make me think my memory is going rather than improving, if the number of times I have to fish one out of the bin to double check what I have just read is anything to go by!

The question of memory is an interesting one. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can read a book, really enjoy it, but not be able to remember very much about it at all within a matter of months, weeks sometimes!

reading

Does it matter if you can’t remember what your read?

I think the problem is that I have read a lot of books over the years. In the same way I can’t always remember what a film is about, even though I know I’ve seen it. I can’t always remember what happens in a book either. Like most people my memory has sections. I prioritise what I remember. I will remember parents evenings, medical appointments but not often what channel my favourite tv programme is on. I think this is fairly normal. After all, there is a lot to remember in an average day. 

Relax and unwind

Reading definitely helps me sleep…

I do know that reading before bed helps me to sleep though. It also helps me feel much more calm. If I don’t read for a few days I can feel it in my body.

As a parent and ex-teacher, I have also seen first hand, many times, that avid readers have better vocabulary, wider imaginations, write better and spell more accurately. Encouraging children to read is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

 

Why do you read?

Just stop and think about all the things you have read in the last few days and why you were reading them. I’m sure there will be many reasons you have used reading, including reading this now! Now imagine how different your life would be if you were unable to read or had never been taught to read. This is the reality for many adults in the world. According to the Literacy Trust 16% of adults have poor literacy levels in the UK. According to UNESCO, globally 773 million adults are illiterate globally. That’s a lot of people who are unable to access all the benefits we have already discussed. Take a moment to appreciate your ability to read, whatever reasons you choose to read. Appreciate the person who taught you to read and gave you a passion for words. Reading is a wonderful gift, whether you can remember what happened in that book you read last year, or not. 

Find out more about the benefits of reading:

Benefits of Reading Books

The Power of Story

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