3 Reasons Why Everyone Should Read
As a book lover, it is surprising when I learn someone has not read a single book in the past year. It is saddening when I hear someone say that there is no point in reading made-up stories.
I know some people can’t stand fiction of any kind. It’s how their personality works; how they think and how they understand the world. I get that. Everyone is different, and the world is better for it.
But there are reasons why I believe reading is an important practice for individuals, and for society.
1.) It keeps your brain healthy.
Did you know that people who read books have a reduced risk of developing dementia? It improves your memory function by giving your mind a good workout.
2.) People who read are better able to empathize with others.
Reading puts you in someone else’s head. You see the world as they would. You go through their thought process and their reactions to conflicts. Sometimes you feel as if you are them.
We live in a society which prides itself on acceptance. Yet everywhere you look, the moment someone disagrees with us we brutally dismiss and degrade them as if they are somehow stupid for having a different opinion or belief.
Being able to empathize with others brings about an understand that people come from different places, and helps us learn to respect where one another is at. We discover we are able to hold a civil conversation together,despite our differences in opinion or belief.
3.) Reading teaches you things many people would not learn elsewhere
In many cultures lessons were passed to the younger generations through story. Why? Story has strong emotional impact. Far stronger than saying “don’t lose what’s been entrusted to you”, or “don’t bully the kid with a limp”, is telling someone a story of a child who lost something important or a child who lived with a bad limp.
We remember what we learn in story because we feel like it happened to us.
In Ender’s Game we learned that you can’t base what you are and are not capable of on how young, or how small, you are. You don’t have to wait to be an adult to let your brilliance show.
In The Lord of the Rings we learned that less can be more. Sometimes the true hero is the one who believes and supports his friends to the very end. No matter what.
In Little Women we learned to find what we’re good at and stick to it, and to forgive even when it’s hard.
In The Mark of the Lion we learned to endure all things and stand for what we know is right. Even when the world tells us to give up. Even when no one will stand with us.
In Harry Potter we learned to never judge a person. A “good” person isn’t always good. An “evil” person isn’t always evil. And sometimes courage, wit, and belief in yourself are all you need.
If stories can keep our minds healthy and help change us for the good, leaving us better enabled to go out and change the world around us…shouldn’t we encourage reading?