23 April 2023 is World Book Day and we have 5 reasons why you should pick up your reading habit.
The 2023 Reading Report released in February 2023 found that basic literacy among children in South Africa has declined. Other data from the report says: that the share of Grade 4 children that cannot read for meaning has increased to at least 82%, from 78% recorded in 2016. The report also finds that about 60% of children have not learned most of the letters of the alphabet by the end of grade one, citing data from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) Early Grade Reading Study (EGRS).
While these studies are alarming, it seems that adults are reading less and less too. Studies out of the US show a decline in reading, with -7% of adults reading over the past decade. Between 2003 and 2016, the amount of time that the average American devoted to reading for personal interest on a daily basis dropped from 0.36 hours to 0.29 hours, reports the New Yorker.
Studies show that taking time out to read a book is good for physical and mental health. Using MRI scans, researchers have confirmed that reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. As your reading ability matures, those networks also get stronger and more sophisticated. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic recommend that parents read with their children beginning as early as infancy and continuing through elementary school years.
If that wasn’t enough to motivate you to get reading, here are five reasons why you should pick up a book today!
- Reading increases your ability to empathise. Research shows that people who read fiction are more able to understand the feelings and beliefs of others.
- Reading builds your vocabulary. Having a larger and wider vocabulary means that you can communicate more effectively.
- Cognitive decline happens as we age, but regular reading has been recommended to delay the onset.
- Reading may alleviate symptoms of depression. Reading fiction can allow you to temporarily escape your own world and become swept up in the imagined experiences of the characters.
- You can reduce your stress with reading – it’s true! studies found that 30 minutes of reading lowered blood pressure, heart rate and feelings of psychological distress just as effectively as yoga did.