Sarah Knieff | Staff Writer

I asked 100 Century College students how many books had they read in the past year. Most asked if textbooks counted, which for the sake of my experiment they did not. 55 out of the 100 students said that they read a total of 0 books in the past year other than textbooks.

My follow up question was why was that? Most of the answers I got back were; “I would rather watch Netflix” and “I don’t have time for that.” One student however answer back with “reading doesn’t actually do anything for me.”

This got me thinking.

Being a huge book nerd myself, I knew the benefits of reading, but how could I tell my fellow students just how much reading does for you…lightbulb! With more reading!

I researched many of the interweb’s great sites and compiled a list of what reading actually does for us. Cue the list!

Beautiful books
Photo Credit: Sarah Knieff

What reading does for you:

  1. Knowledge: Picking up a history book on a topic of interest or using a cookbook to master tuna tar tar gives you more information than you had before. Everyone wants to be better at something and I can guarantee that there is a book out there for whatever that something is.
  2. Reduced stress: Reading can help calm the mind and body because of the solitude. For the most part reading is done alone in a peaceful area and this helps center the mind. Reading also reduces stress by allowing the mind to concentrate on something other than to do lists and calendar appointments that come along with busy lives.
  3. Improved analytical thinking: Two words; mystery books. Those books that send you on a wild goose chase as you solve the murder or the “who dunnit,” improve your problem solving skills. Crossword puzzles will come at ease with the advanced analytical skills.
  4. Increased vocabulary: How many times do you find yourself looking up a word in a book while reading? My guess is that it is a lot but don’t get me wrong; this is a great thing. Learning new words will help in every aspect of life. Want to impress your boss with your extensive vocabulary; read a book. Want the in-laws to know that you are well educated; read a book! Having a large vocabulary will always come in handy.
  5. Improved memory: Have you ever heard the story of the fat cat who loved only three things in the whole world; lasagna, annoying his owner, and harassing his roommate, Odie? Remember his name? Garfield! Reading helps improve your memory skills because of all the things you have to remember while do so. Character names, personalities, plot, events, locations, etc. is a lot to keep stored in the old noggin. Reading will help expand your memory and pretty soon you will be able to remember all the Game of Thrones characters with ease.
  6. Better writing skills: Reading and writing are the two fun, but crazy friends everyone has. One doesn’t do anything without the other, because reading can’t exist without writing. If you read more and see different writing styles this will help you do some writing of your own.
  7. Increased Empathy: When we read first person stories we get inside the mind of the character. We know how they are feeling and what they are thinking. This increases our empathetic skills because we are learning to understand how someone else feels and what is behind their actions.
  8. Failure Preparedness: In almost every book there is a part where the hero fails. The hero tried to fight the bad guys, but got his behind kicked and was sent back home to lick his wounds. The hero almost thinks of giving up too until he realizes that it means he just has to work harder. Reading about other people’s failures does a special thing to our minds. It helps us realize that failure is natural and okay.
  9. Mental stimulation: Studies show that when the brain is stimulated daily it can reduces the chances of getting Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It could even slow the process down. Reading gives the brain the exercise and keeps the energy going. Think of your brain as though it were a hamster on a wheel. The hamster runs on that wheel to get exercise, so it doesn’t get lazy and tired. Your brain will get lazy and tired too without proper exercise.
  10. Improved focus and concentration: With ADD and ADHD on the rise, finding ways to increase your attention span is needed. We live in a world of two second news and technology at our fingertips, where the biggest news is if a certain model got lip fillers. Taking the time to get away from all the noise is really healthy. Shut your phone off and concentrate solely on the pages in front of you to improve focus.
  11. Free entertainment: Now, who doesn’t love free entertainment? The Century College library as well as local libraries offer millions of books to check out at no cost. Just don’t forget to return them!
  12. Increased imagination: What was your favorite childhood book? Did it have talking cats, flying dragons, or swimming mermaids? Were there knights, wizards, and evil monsters? I bet that there was something not so this worldly in it. Reading can take us places that we only ever dreamed about and help our imaginations soar.