This article explores the lesser-known advantages of reading for pleasure among adults. It discusses how leisure reading can improve empathy and social perception by allowing readers to step into different perspectives.
While we frequently discuss how much reading for pleasure benefits children’s growth and development, there is far less discussion about adult reading habits.
Why is Reading for Pleasure Helpful for Adults?
It is not an exaggeration to say that reading for pleasure has many benefits. We prefer to focus on the benefits for children, but adults get the same advantages.
Reading is a serious stress reliever, and after a particularly hectic year, it’s an excellent way to unwind and relax. Honestly, it’s a type of self-care that we frequently ignore.
Reading for pleasure helps us in all the ways one might expect, including improving our language, comprehension, and writing skills. However, it also helps us understand other cultures and provides insight into decision-making (National Literacy Trust).
research reveals three additional surprising benefits of reading for pleasure as an adult:
- Fiction readers have demonstrated greater creativity, empathy, and emotional intelligence. Losing yourself in the experiences of fictional characters might help us become more open-minded and put ourselves in the shoes of others.
- Reading increases brain strength and cognitive engagement, which can aid with memory and brain function as we age.
- Reading aids self-improvement. We often teach students that “readers are leaders,” and this is absolutely true! Johnson County Public Library (JCPL) is dedicated to promoting lifelong learning, and one of the best ways to do so is to pick up a book and learn something new.
Everyone reading for pleasure various reasons. Some of us read to escape reality or envisage realms other than our own. Some people read to learn new skills, such as cooking or crafting, or to learn about people who inspire them. And some people read to have time to ponder about things that fascinate them but do not appeal to those around them.
But, regardless of why you read, you’re teaching your brain to recall ideas and facts. You’re thinking in new ways and developing both creatively and emotionally. This new knowledge and skill set is quite powerful!
What Should You Do If Your Reading Habit Has Slowed or Stopped?
It’s one thing to know “reading for pleasure is good for you” – something many of us have been told since we were kids – but it’s another to make time for it, even if we enjoy it.
As adults, people get busy with their kids, jobs, and life, and something has to give. Even without the COVID-19 pandemic or the social shifts that have occurred in the last year, reading is frequently that something.
These events have resulted in a particular set of modifications in the practice of reading: “There are people who are reading more – anything and everything they can get their hands on, there are people who have reverted back to their comfort reads – re-reading their favorite books to revisit familiar characters and places they love, and people who have had a difficult time being able to focus on reading for pleasure right now with everything going on in the world.”
While everyone adapted differently, “all of these reactions are perfectly valid.” One reaction is not better or worse than another; they are simply varied, including reading habits.
Regardless of your reading habits, if you’re ready to read more but don’t know where to begin, here are a few terrific ideas:
Try a book as an audiobook: “If it’s hard to find time in your day between work, extracurricular activities, household chores, and squeezing in a few hours of sleep, audiobooks are MAGIC.” Listening while getting ready for the day, commuting, working out, or even cleaning the house. It allows you to “multitask and still fit your reading in.”
Get help choosing a book: Librarians are really helpful and may design a personalized reading list based on your interests! They’ll even help you find various forms, such as eBooks and audiobooks, if you desire. The program is named Find Your Next Book, and the purpose is to provide any assistance you require “to find something you’ll love!”
Use Hoopla: This free app for library card members allows you to download audiobooks to stream on your phone, eliminating the need to carry a book around. Simply launch the app, and your book is right there with you!
Why is the library an excellent community resource?
The library is more than just a location for books.
It’s an important community resource, and if you think it’s “just” about books, you might be missing out!
The library is an outstanding community resource for its numerous contributions to education, culture, and social cohesion. Libraries serve as a hub of knowledge and learning, providing fair access to a plethora of information via books, digital resources, and educational events. They play an important role in boosting literacy by assisting people of all ages in developing strong reading habits and fundamental literacy abilities.
Furthermore, libraries serve as welcoming gathering places for varied community members to attend events, workshops, and cultural exchanges, developing social relationships and mutual understanding.
The library not only has a large collection of books, but it is also an excellent community resource for connecting with people and expanding your learning horizons – you might even meet someone new.
Reading for pleasure is undeniably beneficial to us. You may believe you’ve heard it all: the mental health benefits, the educational benefits for children, and even the stress-relieving features. However, it can also increase your creativity and empathy, boost your memory, and make you more open-minded.
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