Reading: Do It For You
Reading is a great hobby for anyone who is literate. From novels, to magazines, to newspaper articles, there are so many different types of literature for us to get lost in. One of the most incredible things about literature is that we can spend hours upon hours reading because we are so entertained by the writings; however, most of us do not even understand the positive effects that the activity of reading has on our lives. If everyone knew the benefits of reading, we would all have much more knowledge, more income, and less stress.
Years ago, Anne Cunningham and Keith Stanovich conducted a series of studies that they called “What Reading Does for the Mind.” In their publication, they discussed how much more knowledge can be learned through reading versus television and conversation. They found that the vocabulary in children’s books have “50 percent more rare words in them than does adult prime-time television and the conversation[s] of college graduates” (3). They also stated that “the more avid readers in our study-regardless of their general abilities-knew more about how a carburetor worked, were more likely to know who their United States senators were, more likely to know how many teaspoons in a tablespoon, were more likely to know what a stroke was, and what a closed shop in a factory was, etc” (6). As we can see, reading provides us with knowledge, and I think it is safe to say that more knowledge is a good thing.
Another benefit of reading that Dr. David Lewis, of the University of Sussex, found is stress relief. We all know the feeling of getting lost in literature (hopefully you have that feeling right now). In that moment we are relaxed, everything is calm and quiet. In his study, Dr. Lewis says that 6 minutes of reading every day can reduce stress by 60%. It is 68% more effective than listening to music, 100% more effective than drinking a cup of tea, 300% more effective than going for a walk, and 700% more effective than playing video games.
Lastly, in a study called Adult Literacy in America, it was found that readers’ weekly earnings were $450 more than those who didn’t read at all (Kirsch, 65). The more you read, the more money you make.
Cunningham, Anne E., and Keith E. Stanovich. “What Reading Does for the Mind.” American Federation of Teachers, www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/cunningham.pdf.
Kirsch, Irwin S., et al. Adult Literacy in America: a First Look at the Results of the National Adult Literacy Survey. 3rd ed., U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 2002.
Lewis, David. “Reading Reduces Stress.” National Reading Campaign, 2009, nationalreadingcampaign.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/ReadingFacts1.pdf.