Reading for Pleasure is something we choose to do because we want to. A hobby that’s easy to access, free (if readers use their local library), and has huge benefits that can last a lifetime, no matter your age.
However, the number of people reading for pleasure has diminished over the years. With regards to children, the UK’s National Literacy Trust, Annual Literacy Survey in 2022 showed that only 47.8% of 8-18-year-olds enjoyed reading – just under half! At a guess, that could be because of the advances in technology, meaning that there is so much alternative entertainment such as social media and gaming, literally at our fingertips.
But, as reading for pleasure brings with it a plethora of benefits, can we really afford to lose them? And just what are the benefits of reading for pleasure? If you have a few minutes, read our top reasons and see if you can add to the list in the comment section below.
- Reading gives us a better understanding of others, as well as it also giving us the space to understand ourselves better. It may show us that we’re not alone in our thoughts and feelings, it may help us to feel ‘seen’ in a world where we might not always feel that we are, which is good for our self-esteem. By connecting us with other worlds and communities, reading encourages empathy and allows us a deeper understanding of people who, in real life, we might struggle to understand!
- Through reading, we can learn – about different places, different cultures and different periods in history. It doesn’t matter whether we’re reading fact or fiction, fiction has a huge wealth of knowledge and learning opportunities within it.
- Great writers also tend to be great readers and there’s a reason for this – reading encourages imagination. However, having a brilliant imagination is not only an asset for writers or those in the creative fields, but imagination is an asset in all aspects of life as it allows us to problem-solve, to invent, to make decisions – the list goes on – and this is simply because having imagination enables us to ‘think outside the box’.
- Another, probably quite obvious, benefit of reading is how it widens vocabulary. Again, just as having a great imagination is a valuable asset, so is the knowledge that comes from a vast vocabulary. As they say, ‘knowledge is power’, and the more words someone knows and understands, the more knowledge they will gain, which in turn can open doors to all sorts of opportunities and experiences.
- Reading is also important for our well-being, as it is known to reduce stress levels and can also promote better sleep and – from personal experience – this is especially the case if it’s a print book or magazine, rather than something on a digital device.
With such a wealth of benefits it just shows how important it is to encourage reading to the children in our lives, it will give them lifelong benefits and joy. It is also important that we don’t lose the love of reading for pleasure as we get older – so easy to do so as adults with the crazy, busyness of life taking over. But adults can still get all the benefits from reading for pleasure that children can, so rather than choosing to mindlessly scroll through social media, it might be more worthwhile to pick up a book or magazine.
So be it reading a magazine or a book, an email or the back of a cereal packet, reading is reading and should be encouraged. After all, when confidence is gained through reading one type of reading material, then it can lead on to reading another.
But whatever type of reading it is, getting the joy out of reading is what is truly important.
Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income.Based on an OECD Report (2002)