The Power of Reading in 2021
Welcome to The Power of Reading!
Reading is learning. Learning is education. Education is knowledge. Knowledge is power. Power is influence. And, influence is the ability to change the world. It sounds odd to say that reading IS the ability to change the world, but it definitely sounds insightful to say that reading LEADS to the ability to change the world. This is the power of reading.
When most teenagers think of reading, the first few words that may pop up in their heads are boring and futile. They don’t even realize the impact, the marvelous effect, that reading has on their brains, their lifestyle, and their future. As teenagers are growing older and older, reading suddenly gets replaced by the things that are actually useless. Moreover, the number of pages teens read decreases as the number of episodes they watch increases. The number of words teens read get replaced by the number of posts they like. Lastly, the number of minutes teens read for change to the number of minutes teens spend watching videos.
The pleasure teenagers get from being on social media is only temporary. For example, the posts that were liked yesterday don’t matter in a year from now. However, the effect of reading is permanent and leads on to our futures being brighter. The book that you read three months ago still has an effect today and will have an effect on all the days to come. That book you read three months ago probably introduced you to multiple new words, expanding your vocabulary. Those words that you learned from the book will stick in your brain for several years, while you will not be able to remember whose post you saw after just one week.
“Some researchers estimate students learn one new word of vocabulary for every thousand words read.6 Using this ratio, a student who reads only 1.5 million words would learn only 1,500 new vocabulary words from reading, while a student who reads 13.7 million words would learn 13,700 new vocabulary terms—more than nine times the amount of vocabulary growth.”
Photos/Research Source: renaissance.com
While those statistics prove that reading is linked to higher achievement in education, the benefits of reading are much more than that! If reading was just beneficial for education and succeeding in school, people would have stopped reading while they in college. There are many successful people who take time out of their busy lives to read books and learn more. To me, that says a lot about the power of reading. While there are hundreds of benefits of reading, this blog will explore ten crucial ones and why they matter!
Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Elon Musk- name one ultra-successful person who doesn’t read books! Bill Gates reads one book a week, and he states, “Each book opens up new avenues of knowledge to explore.” Warren Buffett read up to 1000 pages a day when he started his investing career. When he was asked what the key to success is, he said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” (huffpost.com) Elon Musk was practically raised by books and “he read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica at age nine and would pore through science fiction novels for more than 10 hours a day.” (cnbc.com)
So, what do they actually gain from reading books? Well, here’s 10 things:
1. Helps strengthen the brain
Just like how exercising strengthens the body, reading is one workout that will strengthen the mind.
A growing body of research indicates that reading literally changes your mind.
Using MRI scans, researchers have confirmed Trusted Source that reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. As your reading ability matures, those networks also get stronger and more sophisticated.
In one study Trusted Source conducted in 2013, researchers used functional MRI scans to measure the effect of reading a novel on the brain. Study participants read the novel “Pompeii” over a period of 9 days. As tension built in the story, more and more areas of the brain lit up with activity.
Brain scans showed that throughout the reading period and for days afterward, brain connectivity increased, especially in the somatosensory cortex, the part of the brain that responds to physical sensations like movement and pain.healthline.com
By reading, you are helping your brain stay active, which is beneficial for the future as it prevents the risk of mental diseases, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Improves mental health
Whenever we think of reading, we think of educational and academic benefits. However, the mental benefits of reading are just as, if not more, significant!
By reading, you are diving into another world, forgetting about your stress and worries in this one. As a result, it helps you relax and become less stressed. Not only this, but reading helps you sleep better, become less depressed, and have higher self-esteem. Also, your social and communication skills improve, which is a crucial skill in life!
“For some, reading books are a way to escape the real world and the people in it. Interestingly enough, research shows that reading can actually improve social skills to help you deal with those people. One study found that individuals who read fiction may be better at generating what is known as “theory of mind.” Theory of mind is the ability to understand others’ mental states, beliefs, desires, and differing thoughts. It’s a skill essential for complex social relationships. ” (thebestbrainpossible.com)
3. Vocabulary and knowledge expansion
There are about 11 words per line. 34 lines per page. 500 (on average) pages per book. If you do the math, that adds up to about 187,000 words (if it is around 500 pages.) Imagine reading a book a week, which means that you would encounter 748000 words per month! That sounds like a lot, and it surely is. In the last photo for statistics, you can see that the more a child reads, the more words they will read/learn.
“It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it: the more you read, the more words to which you are exposed. Research provides strong support for the correlation between word-reading skills and vocabulary. Science confirms the importance of reading to the process of vocabulary acquisition in children and adolescents. In adults, a larger vocabulary corresponds with a higher income. I read somewhere that the average American reads a book a year. The CEO of a company averages around 60 books a year. Enough said.” (thebestbrainpossible.com)
4. Better memory and focus
Memory: “The research from Northcentral University about reading a book can give improvement is by you have to remember the setting of the book, the characters, their backgrounds, their history, their personalities, the sub-plots and so much more. As your brain learns to remember all this, your memory becomes better. What’s more, with every new memory you create, you create new pathways and this strengthens the existing ones.” (medium.com)
Focus: “When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story or gaining a better understanding of a particular topic— the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing. Books with better structures encourage us to think in sequence — the more we read, the more our brains are able to link cause and effect.” (medium.com)
5. Better writing abilities
Reading and writing go hand-in-hand, like hammers and nails. By reading good writing, you notice their writing style, fluidity, cadence, and more. If you ever wondered why high school teachers make students read “The Classics,” now you know why. By reading good writing, they can also absorb good work and use it in their own writing.
For more information, check out medium.com on four ways reading helps you become a better writer. They include technique, references, ideation, and comparison.
6. Enhances imagination and empathy
All books have different stories, plots, characters, settings, problems, and more. Because of this, our brains become aware of different perspectives, ideas, and items. With this, our imagination sores and our empathy increases.
Empathy: “We can be open to new ideas and have an understanding of new things. Reading helps us practice imagination by letting the words describe a certain image while the reader manipulates the picture in the mind. This practice strengthens the mind as it acts like a muscle.” (worldliteracyfoundation.org)
Empathy: “Getting lost in a good read can make it easier for you to relate to others. Literary fiction, specifically, has the power to help its readers understand what others are thinking by reading other people’s emotions, according to research published in Science. The impact is much more significant on those who read literary fiction as opposed to those who read nonfiction. ‘Understanding others’ mental states is a crucial skill that enables the complex social relationships that characterize human societies,’ David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano wrote of their findings.” (realsimple.com)
Check out this website to see if reading can make you a better person!
7. Stronger analytical thinking skills
Have you ever read an amazing mystery novel, and solved the mystery yourself before finishing the book? If so, you were able to put critical and analytical thinking to work by taking note of all the details provided and sorting them out to determine “whodunnit”.
That same ability to analyze details also comes in handy when it comes to critiquing the plot; determining whether it was a well-written piece, if the characters were properly developed, if the storyline ran smoothly, etc.
Should you ever have an opportunity to discuss the book with others, you’ll be able to state your opinions clearly, as you’ve taken the time to really consider all the aspects involved.lifehack.org
8. Keeps you engaged
Often times, us teenagers have nothing to do around the house. We get bored after finishing homework and assignments that have been given to us. While watching TV and going on social media are the first thing that comes to our head when we have nothing to do, there are much better options than to waste your time.
One of the best solutions are to read a book! It may not seem like it, but books will keep you engaged and busy. Just like how movies provide entertainment by providing a story, books are doing the same thing! The only difference is that you are reading the story, not watching it. By reading, you are getting smarter and improving yourself (which is what this whole article talks about.) So, instead of watching the story, go ahead and read it.
Don’t think of reading as a boring assignment, think of it as free entertainment! It is a two-for-one, as it is keeping you engaged and at the same time, improving yourself.
9. Boosts brain power and intelligence
As Dr. Seuss once wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Diving into a good book opens up a whole world of knowledge starting from a very young age. Exposure to vocabulary through reading (particularly reading children’s books) not only leads to higher scores on reading tests, but also higher scores on general tests of intelligence for children. Plus, stronger early reading skills may mean higher intelligence later in life.
Not only does regular reading help make you smarter, but it can also actually increase your brain power. Just like going for a jog exercises your cardiovascular system, reading regularly improves memory function by giving your brain a good workout. With age comes a decline in memory and brain function, but regular reading may help slow the process, keeping minds sharper longer, according to research published in Neurology. Frequent brain exercise was able to lower mental decline by 32 percent, reports The Huffington Post.realsimple.com
10. Reading is contagious
Last but not least, reading is contagious… in a good way, of course.
Seventy-five percent of parents wish their children would read more for fun, and those who want to encourage their children to become bookworms can start by reading out loud at home. While most parents stop reading out loud after their children learn to do it on their own, a report from Scholastic suggests that reading out loud to kids throughout their elementary school years may inspire them to become frequent readers—meaning kids who read five to seven days per week for fun. More than 40 percent of frequent readers ages six through 10 were read to out loud at home, but only 13 percent of those who did not read often for fun were. Translation? Story time offers a good way to spark an interest in the hobby.realsimple.com
Check out more on this topic in our success category!
Now that you know the power of reading, it is up to you to decide if you want to make a change. There are many people in this world who don’t read, but the small percentage of people who do are the ones that end up being successful. It is not a question of “Do you want to be successful?”, but rather, “Will you take the steps needed to achieve success?”
The benefits of reading listed in this article include, but are not limited to:
- Helps strengthen the brain
- Increases mental health
- Vocabulary and knowledge expansion
- Better memory and focus
- Better writing abilities
- Enhances imagination and empathy
- Stronger analytical thinking skills
- Keeps you engaged
- Boosts brain power and intelligence
- Reading is contagious
If you’re one of those people who find excuses to not do something (yes, I’m talking about you), let me tell you why there are NO excuses you can make to stop you from reading.
You: “Reading is boring.”
Me: “There are several different genres for books. Find one that interests you!”
You: “I don’t have time to read.”
Me: “You don’t have 15 minutes to spare in a day?!” “I’m sure you can take time to read for 15 minutes, or even just 5 pages a day. Start out small and increase the number of pages you read in a day or amount of minutes. “
Well, there it is. You now know about the benefits (power) of reading, and how to not find excuses, so what are you waiting for?! There are plenty of apps and online sources you can use if the library is not accessible. Check out Overdrive, or download Blinkist (an app that has collections of mini books so that you can learn.)
“The journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page.” – Rachel Anders
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