Thursday, December 19, 2013

Why reading is important


As most of you know, I am a huge advocate of reading. I was shocked to find out that 35% of adults don't read for pleasure

I’d like to talk about three things regarding reading
1.       Why it is important
2.       How to do it
3.       How a small change can make a big difference


Why


Benefits for adults:
  • Reading strengthens brain connections and actually builds new connections.
  • Improves concentration.
  • General knowledge and vocabulary (e.g. Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998);
  • Better understanding of other cultures (Meek, 1991);
  • Community participation (e.g. Bus, van Ijzendoorm & Pellegrini, 1995);
  • A greater insight into human nature and decision-making (Bruner, 1996)
  • Increases in self confidence and motivation
  • Relaxes the body and calms the mind. 
  • Shown to combat feelings of loneliness in adults (Rane-Szostak & Herth, 1995).


Reading is easier now than it ever has been: Books are cheaper and more easily accessible
Books used to be written on tablets, scrolls, and codex’s. Books used to be only available in monataries or royalty and were hand copied by priests and monks. It wasn’t until the printing press was invented that the cost dropped significantly and widespread reading became an option

Today books can be free with the use of a library card or borrowing from a friend, and can be found at garage sales for 25 cents to a $1, or can be purchased nice and new from a bookstore at a still affordable price. Books can also be found online, or through ereaders or tablets. Cost really isn’t an issue these days with books.

How
Most people I talk to about reading say that they don’t really have time to read, and they don’t understand how I do. To those people I often say, you have time, its just not a priority. Tv shows, shopping, and other forms of entertainment often take precedence in peoples lives, which I am not saying is a bad thing, I just don’t like when it is used as an excuse for not picking up a book every once in a while. If you still feel like reading isn’t an option I have come up with a few ways to work reading into your life.

Here are some ideas I came up with:
First use reading as a multitasking activity. The invention of a more accessible audiobook (check out audible) is superb for accomplishing this. You can cook, clean, commute, and exercise all while learning something new.

Bring a book with you wherever you go. I am always amazed at the amounts of time I spend waiting for people or things to start where I have 10 minutes or so and I just stare at my phone and do nothing worthwhile.

And if none of these things work and you really do want to make reading a priority:
Watch one less tv show a week than normal (if show is an hour you will get 60 minutes for reading)
Spend less time on facebook or other social media sites

Another recommendation I have is to set a goal with reading, you will get a lot farther with it if you do.

How increasing can have a huge impact
 With this all in mind I decided to do some calculations to determine how much you could read if you add just 15 minutes of it per day.

the average adult reads prose text at 250 to 300 words per minute.
15, 000 to 18,000 words per hour
The average length of a novel is 70,000-150,000 words.
So to give you an idea of what this means:
Hunger games has 99,750 words= 5.5 hours for the average person
Pride and Prejudice has 123,880 words= 8.3 hours for the average person
191,000 words in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire= 10.6 hours for the average person

If you were to create an extra 15 (4,500 words) minutes per day for reading you would be able to finish Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 42 days. If you kept reading books this same length for the rest of the year you would finish around 9 books a year. And lets be honest you will more than likely be reading shorter books too.
If we changed these numbers to be the size of hunger games you could read about 17 books per year.
Isn’t that amazing! Just reading 15 minutes per day or 15 minutes more per day you can increase the books you read by that much!

But be careful though, one research paper I read said the following:  Indeed, reading amount and reading achievement are thought to be reciprocally related to each other – as reading amount increases, reading achievement increases, which in turn increases reading amount (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998).

So you may just get sucked in J

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