Whether you want to escape reality or have to read a chapter for school or university, reading is great. A lot of people say that they do not have time to read but is that really true? Maybe people simply don’t want to spend their time reading books because watching TV is easier. But in fact, reading is exactly what you should do.
When I was younger I absolutely loved reading; I always had a book with me. But things changed when I transferred to high school – I started to hate subjects where I had to read. Reading felt extremely forced since we had to finish a book in a fixed period of time. I then started watching TV instead, just because it was easier.
Perhaps this hits a little too close to home for many of us who fell out of our reading habits. What’s the big deal about reading anyway, and is watching television really that bad?
Reading is an active thinking process since the reader is the one who gives meaning to a text and visualizes the storyline.
Well, research has shown that watching television instead of reading reduces your theory of mind. It is the ability to think about beliefs, desires, knowledge, and intentions (Apperly, 2011). But since television is one-sided and not interactive, watching more television leads to a theory of mind, which can in turn make it harder for one to understand the beliefs and perspectives of others. Reading, on the other hand, is an active thinking process since the reader is the one who gives meaning to a text and visualizes the storyline.
Benefits of Reading
Reading can improve your self-discipline and therefore help you to focus better on your academic tasks.
A study from the University of Sussex in 2009 found out that reading reduces stress by 68% even when you only read a book or the newspapers for six minutes. Another effect is related to self-discipline and academic success. Reading can improve your self-discipline and therefore help you to focus better on your academic tasks. By starting to read for 15 mins daily, you train yourself to stay focused on one topic. Another effect of reading is that it enhances and challenges your imagination. Books can take you to different places within seconds.
“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” – William Styron
Reading also helps you to improve your writing skills. This especially counts if you are reading in another language. Not only do you improve and broaden your vocabulary, but you also internalize correct spellings and sentence structures. Especially when you are reading books about different cultures, it helps you to view certain things from a different perspective. Therefore, it is safe to say that reading broadens your horizon.
Tips to Read More
My first advice is to block some time for when you want to read. The best approach is to start with a smaller amount of time, such as fifteen minutes. Or it could be for thirty minutes on a Sunday evening to wind down. Once you have built a routine, you can easily increase the time.
Another advice is to use Goodreads. With this app, you can set a yearly reading goal, keep track of the number of books you have read so far, create a list of books you want to read, connect with friends and see what they are reading. Goodreads helped me a lot to get back into reading. If you have spent some time on YouTube, you have probably seen influencers promote Audible, an online audiobook platform. A cheaper version to listen to audiobooks is Spotify, especially if you already have a subscription. Spotify states that they have over 1000 audiobooks you can listen to.
Physical Books or e-Books?
I personally like the feeling of having a book in my hand, it makes the reading experience more enjoyable for me. Moreover, a physical book is more likely to arouse emotions while reading. Naomi Baron even wrote in her book Words Onscreen: “I wonder if anyone has ever cried reading an eBook?”
Furthermore, studies have shown that print books are better for your health, since they are better for your eyes, as well as help you to sleep better since you are not looking at a digital screen.
Of course, buying books can be very expensive, but there are many secondhand books stores where you can get them for much cheaper. However, books can take up a lot of space, especially when you’re living in a student building or living with roommates, so an eBook may be more practical. Additionally, if you travel a lot, an eBook is definitely a good investment if you enjoy reading.
Overall, reading is great and I hope this post might lead to you picking up a book in the future, instead of watching TV.
Cover: Fabiola Peñalba