Americans between 15 and 44 years old only read for 10 minutes or less each day. That’s a shame, not just because of the vast world of great literature that’s out there, but because of the benefits reading can offer the mind.
In our screen-based world, the importance of reading can be easy to forget. But for both kids and adults, reading holds immense benefits for mental capacities and health.
So let’s take a look at what those benefits are!
Sharpening Critical Thinking Skills
One of the foremost benefits of regular reading is that it develops one’s capacity to approach texts critically. For example, reading non-fiction encourages young and old readers to consider the merits of an author’s arguments.
But fiction sharpens those capacities as well. On a basic level, readers ask themselves how much they enjoyed a story and why, but different genres offer chances to engage our critical faculties in different ways.
Take a detective story, for example. Readers will spend much of the story trying to piece together clues in much the same way as the story’s protagonist. But all stories encourage this to some extent, as readers ask themselves whether the structure of the story makes coherent and satisfying sense.
In this light, the importance of reading to children is obvious. Developing kids’ abilities to approach texts critically is always important, but it’s important for adults, too. After all, lacking the capacity to think critically about the media one consumes is a handicap, whether you’re 14 or 40!
The Importance of Reading to a Reader’s Memory
Reading also carries benefits for a reader’s memory. Books are more likely to contain complex and multi-layered plots than Hollywood blockbusters, and being able to retain that information is key to enjoying a narrative.
Once again, this is a key benefit of reading for children. A good memory is never a bad thing, but for kids who have to frequent exams at school, being better able to retain and call on memories is a superpower. This is a huge reason why so many parents choose to enroll their kids in a literacy program.
But it’s just as important to keep the mind sharp as one age. Memory loss is an obvious side-effect of getting older, which is why challenging the brain by reading complex stories and non-fiction is a great way to mitigate the mental effects of aging.
Whether young or old, the benefits of reading are obvious!
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Take a Look, It’s in a Book
When it comes down to it, the importance of reading is impossible, to sum up in a short article. The benefits of picking up a book regularly could fill, well, a book! But the nub of it is this: reading is vital to proper mental development for both kids and adults.
As a great character in a great book once said: ‘a mind needs a book like a sword needs a whetstone. So get sharpening!
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