According to statistics from the Reading Agency one in every five children in England cannot read well by the age of 11, whilst a huge 50% of US adults are unable to read a grade 8 level book.
Whilst these figures are quite astonishing, they perhaps should not be too much of a surprise due to our increasingly online and visual world that children are now engulfed in from a very young age.
The Reading Agency also reported that unemployed adults are twice as likely to have weak literacy skills than those in employment, whilst a study has also shown that a staggering two-thirds of students who cannot read to a proficient standard will end up in prison or on welfare.
Personally, when I was a young child I hated reading. I found it boring and didn’t like the material that I was forced to read at school. However, once I had found my forte in the form of wildlife themed books of both the fiction and non-fiction genre, I became encapsulated by literature and haven’t been able to stop since.
Now an entire wall of my bedroom is covered in a huge bookcase from which I am constantly and continually making my way through. And more amazingly than that, the benefits that I have achieved in different aspects of my life due to discovering a passion for reading are, quite frankly, life-changing.
Here is a list of just some of the countless benefits that we can all gain from indulging in a bit of reading:
– Statistics from Statistics Brain have shown that if we read for just 15 minutes each day, we will all read one million words a day. This is a staggering number and leads me to my point of how reading can greatly improve your writing skills and range of vocabulary.
As you read and come across new words, we subconsciously pick up and ‘bank’ those words in our brains, and so gain a new insight and heightened vocabulary range. With my job now as a writer, this has worked absolute wonders as I consciously see my writing improving, along with the complexity of my writing style, meaning that I am able to adapt my writing style depending on my audience, which enables me to write for a range of publications.
When I am in the full flow of writing, I will type a word that I have never written before, and will be amazed to vaguely remember seeing that word in a book that I had read the previous month.
– Reading also has great benefits for our physical and mental health, with studies showing that reading helps prevent Alzheimer’s and other disorders which are associated with brain ageing.
– Regular reading has been shown to reduce the risk of suffering with depression, with statistics showing that 16% more people show signs of depression in those who have low literacy levels compared with those who don’t.
Personally, I have found reading to be such a magical escape from the stresses of the world and every day life. When I am feeling down, or just want to escape temporarily, I have found that settling down into a comforting place without distraction, whilst getting lost in a great book is an amazing coping strategy, and healer, of those times when we just want to be somewhere else, enabling you to temporarily escape reality in a healthy way.
– Books are also great talking points, whether you are speaking to someone you know, a stranger, or a potential business associate that you are trying to impress. Books give us an increased knowledge of a huge range of subject matter, and give you that opportunity to learn about places or events that you may never be able to experience in real life.
– Reading can enable you to gain a completely new perspective of a subject matter, and may even provide you with clarity on a topic that you were once unsure about. I have often received information about wildlife conservation topics that left me feeling uneasy, and unsure of whether I could trust that what a particular person was telling me was the absolute truth, as they were claiming. Reading a variety of books on the topic, from a range of generations and backgrounds, enabled me to gain a greater understanding on the same topic, and provided me with information with which to form my own informed opinion.
– And finally, I am a great believer that knowledge is power. As a summary of all of my points combined, whatever topic you read about will give you more knowledge to make informed decisions and gain a greater insight, a wider vocabulary, and will exercise your brain in the healthiest way!
And just as many in the animal kingdom learn how to survive and grow from their elders, we learn the same things from our elders in the form of writing.
And with this accumulation, you can become powerful.
IMAGE CREDIT:gregorylee / 123RF Stock Photo
About The Author
Jess Murray is a wildlife filmmaker and conservation blogger, having recently returned from studying wildlife and conservation in South Africa, she is now striving to spread awareness about the truth behind faux conservation facilities throughout the world. You can follow Jess on Facebook Here
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