Written by Kelly Ho and Janet Stevens
For some of us, we love nothing more than curling up with a good book, getting lost in stories; the characters’ lives, personalities and their adventures. Some of us, however, are not such avid readers, and may find that we do not have the time, the inclination, or the attention span to sit and read. But multiple studies have shown the various benefits of reading, and the positive impact that this can have on our wellbeing.
The Value of Books
Vocabulary and knowledge
Reading improves your vocabulary and your knowledge of the world. It can open minds to different ideas which may challenge our own and cause us to view things in a different light. A study by Delgado, Vargas, Ackerman and Salmeron, published in 2018, demonstrated that reading also improves written comprehension skills. Whilst this might seem obvious, the results also found that paper-based reading had a greater effect in improving written comprehension skills than screen-based reading.
It is not only written comprehension, vocabulary and knowledge that are improved through reading. Other studies have shown that reading has benefits for both your physical and mental health. Similar to doing yoga, reading can reduce stress and has been shown to reduce a person’s blood pressure and heart rate.
Benefits of reading
An article published on Healthline.com discussed the broad-reaching value of books and benefits of reading such as:
- Reading strengthens your brain;
- Reading increases your ability to empathise;
- Reading helps to prevent age-related cognitive decline;
- Reading can help to alleviate depressive symptoms;
- Reading might even help you to live longer;
- Reading prepares you for a good night’s sleep.
Reading and a good night’s sleep
The connection between reading and a good night’s sleep has been explored in other studies. Reading can be part of a regular sleep routine however studies do caution that print-based reading is preferred as prolonged use of screens close to bedtime can interrupt or have a negative impact on the quality of sleep.
Bonding with children
Finally, but equally importantly, reading can be a great way to bond with children. This can build positive associations with books and children will find reading enjoyable later in life. Reading at home can boost a child’s performance at school, increase their self-esteem, and improve their communication skills.
The value of books
The positive benefits of reading are numerous. Reading can be a source of pleasure, relaxation, learning, or all three. Ask friends or relatives for recommendations, or pop down to your local library to check out their most recent offerings, then grab a cuppa, sit back, get reading and reap the rewards!
- [i] Delgado, P., Vargas, C., Ackerman, R., & Salmerón, L. (2018), “Don’t throw away your printed books: A meta-analysis on the effects of reading media on reading comprehension.” Educational Research Review, 25, 23-38.
- [ii] Kong, Y., Seo, Y. S., & Zhai, L. (2018), “Comparison of reading performance on screen and on paper: A meta-analysis.” Computers & Education, 123, 138-149.
- [iii] Stanborough, R. (2019), “Benefits Of Reading Books: For Your Physical And Mental Health.” Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-reading-books.
- [iv] Mayo Clinic, (2020), 6 Steps To Better Sleep. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/art-20048379
- [v] Chang, A. M., Aeschbach, D., Duffy, J. F., & Czeisler, C. A. (2015), “Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(4), 1232–1237. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1418490112
- [vi] Scholastic Corporation. (2014), Kids & Family Reading Report (5th Edition). https://www.scholastic.com/content/dam/KFRR/PastReports/KFRR2015_5th.pdf?affiliate_id=21181&clickId=3248971872
- [vii] Rizzolo, D., Zipp, G. P., Stiskal, D., & Simpkins, S. (2009), “Stress management strategies for students: The immediate effects of yoga, humor, and reading on stress.” Journal of College Teaching & Learning (TLC), 6(8).
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