As I sit inside my kitchen, preparing for whatever Hurricane Sandy is going to dish out and admiring what’s left of the leaves on the trees in my yard, it occurred to me how less frequently I read now. Then I started thinking about how reading, in general, is becoming something of a dying art. Oh, I know. Lots and lots of people still read. But I hear many people say how they don’t have the time to read anymore. Or that their kids aren’t interested because they’d rather hang out on social media. Or that they don’t know where to start or what to read next.
This bothers me because reading is such a healthy, wonderful thing. And here are some reasons why reading is good for you:
It’s great for your brain! Did you know that reading boosts blood flow to your brain? Oh yes indeed, it does. Studies have shown that whether you read for leisure or for critical purposes, blood flow increases beyond your problem solving areas. It’s like exercise for your noggin!
It increases creativity. Reading takes you places that you’ve never been before. It makes you visualize and sense and feel and smell and touch things and places and people you’d never otherwise come in contact with.
You can make new friends. Ever hear of Goodreads? It’s an online community dedicated to books and readers and writers who love to read and who adore sharing their thoughts on what’s in their digital and hardback library. A mega-library, if you will. And, you can search and research almost every book out there, customize your own reading profile and find new people to hang out with who like the reads you do! Even better, you can get exposed to books you might never have thought to read before.
It can bring families, and friends, closer. Read to your kids. Share your thoughts about the most recent book you read. Discuss what you both loved and hated about a story or a character. Seriously — when was the last time you had a conversation with someone about this kind of stuff?
It keeps you sharp and makes you smarter. Reading actually helps keep your brain fit, which is an important thing at any age. It helps increase students’ grades, increases vocabulary and makes you a better writer and communicator.
Reading helps reduce stress! Reading provides a wonderful, entertaining distraction and takes your mind off your worries.
It can inspire. There are so many stories out there — from fiction to memoir to non-fiction — that can really inspire you to try something new, encourage you to make your life better, or help you realize just what you have and to appreciate the people and things already in it. Can’t beat that, if you ask me.
So, what the heck are you waiting for? Pick up a book. Find a new one. Reread an old one. Buy that paperback you’ve promised yourself but that you haven’t purchased yet. Download a new library of ebooks. Read to your son or daughter. Have your son or daughter read to you. It’s good for you!
And, it’ll give you something to do if you’re one of the unlucky ones who might lose power during Hurricane Sandy. Think about it. What could be more fun than gathering in the dark and reading a scary book by flashlight just in time for Halloween – and getting mentally healthier and stronger while you’re doing it, too!
Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · TerriPonce.com
Wonderful reminders of why reading is so important. I’m so happy I fell in love with reading as a small child. It’s one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children. Inspiring an adult to become an avid reader is a bigger challenge, but even more rewarding. As a writer, that is one of the things I hope for.
It’s a great feeling when your older kids talk books with you, I think. Those are among my favorite conversations. 🙂
Love reading. I cannot imagine one day without it.
I agree! Love living in other worlds through words!
So very very true! Reading has always been a part of our homeschool life, but I decided to step it up last summer and deliberately chose things to read that I would have never chosen before. It has opened up my life and my writing more than I could possibly have imagined. I hope Hurricane Sandy has a minimal impact on you.
Some of my most wonderful memories with my son, when he was growing up, was reading to him. I even made up a story for him, just for him, that he’s since forgotten but I never have. Maybe one day I’ll publish it as a children’s book. Sigh. Fond memories.