5 Reasons To Give Reading Another Shot

Gone are the days in high school where you were reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Lord of the Flies. Classics like Wuthering Heights, The Good Earth, and the lengthy essays by Thoreau in the ‘throws of nature’ were all  mercilessly dissected by assigned summer dialectical journals, subpar oral presentations, and (everyone’s favorite) group projects.

Then some of us went off to college. Suddenly, we were now required to spend literally hundreds of dollars a year on purchasing textbooks that are more often than not, written by your haughty professor.

Although I personally do not fall into the category, it is no wonder that many adults lose the spark that ignites the joy of reading. Statistics are staggering.

Reading Statistics
Total percent of U.S. population that has specific reading disorders 15%
Total percentage of american adults who can’t understand the labels on their prescriptions 46%
Total percent of young people who claim they read more than 10 books a year 56%
Total percentage of U.S. adults who are unable to read an 8th grade level book 50%
Total amount of words read annually by a person who reads 15 minutes a day 1 million
Total percent of U.S. high school graduates who will never read a book after high school 33%
Total percentage of college students who will never read another book after they graduate 42%
Total percentage of U.S. families who did not buy a book this year 80%
Total percentage of adults that have not been in a book store in the past 5 years 70%
Total percentage of books started that aren’t read to completion 57%
Total percent of U.S. students that are dyslexic 15%
Total percentage of NASA employees that are dyslexic 50%
Total number of U.S. inmates that are literate 15%

So… why should we read?

  1. We are able to understand vocabulary, themes, implied references, pop culture, etc… that we did not before. I remember the first time I read J.R.R. Tolkein’s work. I enjoyed the stories of Middle Earth, but as a young child, I found myself skimming over important parts of the story just to skip to the action. I didn’t understand some of the word choices or more serious elements of the books. It wasn’t until I was a teenager when I picked up the books again and really fell in love with the stories that have captured the hearts of so many people for generations.
  2. It’s good for your brain. It has been shown multiple times through several studies that both leisurely reading and close-reading could benefit us neurologically in pretty significant ways. Unlike television, reading requires your attention. Usually when I have the TV on, it’s serving as background noise while I sit in front of my computer. Focusing your attention on the story is a great way to practice some self-serving relaxation.
  3. It’s one of the easiest ways to revisit your childhood. Reading Harry Potter in bed was one of my favorite memories. The Nancy Drew Series, The Series of Unfortunate Events, Eargon, Goosebumps… Every once in awhile it is nice to pick up an old favorite from your younger years and delve back into the story that you loved so dearly. “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”
  4. You not only broaden your world; you broaden your imagination. As George R.R. Martin puts it, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” You begin to recognize that reading is one of the simplest ways to look through another’s eyes and to peer into the vast deep ocean that can be of another’s mind.
  5. You will actually understand what’s happening in the movie rendition. And maybe you’ll be as livid or as pleased as everyone else who has read the book, too! Save yourself the trouble of leaning over every few seconds in the movie theater to ask your friend what is happening… and read the book!

– Jenni

You can tell a lot about a person by the people they hang out with and the books that they read.

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