You may hear older adults bemoaning the lack of reading in “kids today,” but a recent PEW research survey indicates that college-age students actually read more than their older counterparts. While this news is encouraging, some experts believe that there is not enough independent reading and reading-focused classes in the first two years of the typical college education program.
Making the conscious choice to read more has some surprising benefits and can pay off in a number of ways, both in school and as you begin a new career. The benefits of reading are truly lifelong and will serve you no matter what field of study you are interested in. So, without further ado, here are …
5 Reasons to Add Reading to Your College To-Do List!
#1: Enhance your Vocabulary
Every time you pick up a new book, you’re exposed to new language and add to your already large vocabulary. Avid readers excel at vocabulary and even get an edge when it comes to spelling.
#2: Improve your Writing
When you read a lot, you begin to recognize what works — and what doesn’t. Even if you do not know the specific grammar rule that needs to be followed, poor grammar will simply sound “off” to you. The more you read, the more natural and comfortable your writing will become.
#3: Add to your Knowledge Bank
The information you can easily access and that becomes stored permanently in your brain allows you to swiftly complete tasks and to creatively tackle problems. The more you read both fiction and nonfiction, the broader your knowledge-base will be. In addition to giving you a more thorough understanding of complex topics, reading a lot can make you a truly fearsome opponent when you play trivia and knowledge games.
#4: Expand your Worldview
When you read books from a variety of authors and set in diverse places, you are exposed to far more than just additional words. You’ll learn about unfamiliar places, new points of view and be able to consider more than just your own experience. Even when you read for the sheer pleasure of it, you’ll be taking in the life experience and points of view of others with differing backgrounds and experiences.
You’ll never be able to meet that many people from that many diverse backgrounds in such a short amount of time. Not in real life. The pages of a book can be a portal to another world and another time. And you’ll benefit from the experience.
#5: Read Better and Faster
Like any other skill, your reading will naturally become better with practice. You’ll read more swiftly and be able to home in on the most relevant parts of the text as you become more and more practiced. This ease will transfer to your coursework and later to your actual work, resulting in a lifelong benefit.
Ways to Make More Time for Reading
- Go Digital: Your entire library can fit onto your smartphone — and free apps make it easy to read, mark your space and even find out additional information on the text or story you are reading. When you add books to your phone, they take up very little space, but provide another way to improve your reading skills and access new information on the go.
- Consider Audiobooks: If you have a commute, then an audiobook (or even a podcast) on a subject you’ve wanted to learn about will provide you with fresh information and a new way to learn. Audiobooks are also ideal for your workout and for tasks that don’t require your attention, like folding laundry.
- A Book in Your Bag: Bring along the actual text of a new book wherever you go. Bring a set of colored pencils or pens, too. You’ll be able to make notes, record your thoughts and read while you wait in line or for a class to start.
- Make an Appointment: Choose a time each day to have some truly quiet time; put your feet up, get a cup of tea and your most recent read and spend some time simply relaxing. When you schedule time in each day, you are more likely to actually get to it — and you’ll end up more relaxed and balanced, too.
- Chain Your Books: Create a reading chain to dig deeper into the background and history of the books you choose. To do this, allow one book to naturally lead to another — a review of Romeo and Juliet could lead to a book about the Globe theater, then to a look at the customs and histories of the Elizabethan period. (This approach works with more modern reads, too. A series of novels with a knitter as a protagonist has led many readers to turn to this craft. At the same time, the fanciful Harry Potter series has a full accompaniment of food, party and craft books to try.)
- Get Hooked on a Series: Trade in your binge-watching for binge-reading — when you choose a multi-book series, you’ll naturally want to continue the story and keep going.
- Swap the Screen for the Page: “The book was better” is something often heard after a television or movie adaption. Read the book before you see the film on the big screen or watch the series. You’ll be more in the know and be able to gain real insight into the story, the writer and the characters that just can’t be relayed in the limited time available to the production team.
Making the commitment to read more in 2019 will help you become more adept at this important skill. Even if every book you read is fiction and for fun, you’ll still be absorbing knowledge, vocabulary and details that you’ll store away until you need them.