The Importance of Reading for Pleasure
We are in the middle of the Principal’s Reading Challenge, so what better time to talk about how great reading is for us! There is a breadth of research (Baker, et al., 2000; Clark, 2011; Clark & Douglas, 2011; Clark & Osborne, 2008; Clark & Rumbold, 2006; The Reading Agency, 2015; Twist, et al., 2007, etc.) that highlights the importance of reading for pleasure. We know in the iCentre that reading purely for enjoyment leads to success in many areas of our lives. The benefits of reading for pleasure are wide-reaching and include:
- Reading attainment and writing ability;
- Text comprehension and grammar;
- Significantly more progress in spelling and maths;
- Breadth of vocabulary;
- Positive reading attitudes;
- Greater self-confidence as a reader;
- Pleasure in reading in later life;
- General knowledge;
- A better understanding of other cultures;
- Community participation; and
- A greater insight into human nature and decision-making.
Furthermore, studies have found that reading for just 20 minutes a day exposes us to 1.8 million words a year, which leads to increased general knowledge, vocabulary, communication, and analytical skills (Basmo, n.d.); as well as higher scores on literacy tests (kidskonnect, 2020). The picture below shows the decrease in words if we only read for 1 – 5 minutes per day. Reading for 20 or more minutes a day means you’ll read 3600 minutes a year and learn over 1.5 million more words than those who read for 5 minutes or less a day.
The benefits of reading 20 minutes a day
There are even more benefits to reading 20 minutes a day!
Reading can relieve stress by 68%
Studies show that when you spend at least 20 minutes reading, you ultimately reduce your stress, anxiety, and the chances of suffering from insomnia. It has been proven that only 6 minutes of reading can reduce stress by 68%. So, imagine what you can achieve in twenty!
Taking 20 minutes to read every day can boost mental health
Researchers have shown through MRI scans that reading strengthens our brains, while also lowering our heart rate and blood pressure. Simply put, reading can make us smarter and more relaxed!
Reading often helps to improve writing skills
Reading for 20 minutes a day can help us become stronger writers! The more words we read, the wider our vocabulary. The wider our vocabulary, the more interesting our writing is. By reading 20 minutes a day, you can discover new ways to convey meaning, articulate your thoughts, persuade people, use figurative language, and engage reader’s emotions.
Reading helps to build stronger relationships
Surprisingly, reading for at least 20 minutes a day helps build your ability to socialise appropriately. People who read show a heightened ability to empathise with others. Reading allows you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This build-up of empathy results in the development of “soft skills”, which can help us build and maintain better relationships.
So what are you waiting for? The Principal’s Reading Challenge is a great opportunity for you to get those reading minutes in each day, and not only earn points for your Homeroom, but reap all the benefits reading has to offer!
Baker, L., Dreher, M.J. and Guthrie, J.T. (2000). Engaging young readers: Promoting achievement and motivation. New York: Guilford Publishing.
Basmo. (n.d.). Why Read 20 Minutes a Day (The Complete List of Benefits). Retrieved from https://basmo.app/reading-20-minutes-a-day/#:~:text=When%20you%20dedicate%20only%2020,obviously%20enrich%20your%20vocabulary%20substantially
Clark, C. (2011). Setting the Baseline: The National Literacy Trust’s first annual survey into reading – 2010. London: National Literacy Trust.
Clark, C. and Osborne, S. (2008). How Does Age Relate to Pupils’ Perceptions of Themselves as Readers? The National Literacy Trust
Clark, C., and Rumbold, K. (2006). Reading for Pleasure a research overview. The National Literacy Trust
Kidskonnect. (2020). Why Children Should Read 20 Minutes a Day and How This Impacts Your Kids’ Development – At Any Age. Retrieved from https://kidskonnect.com/articles/why-children-should-read-20-minutes-a-day-and-how-this-impacts-your-kids-development-at-any-age/