Don’t Forget to Read for You

You should be reading more. 

We realize this is probably not the best time in the semester to tell you that. In fact, you’re probably reading more right now – doing research for papers, projects, and other academic deadlines – than you have been all semester. And now some librarian is telling you you should be reading even more, on top of school and work and family obligations? But hear us out.

Like your doctor nagging you to take the time to exercise, we want to remind you to take time to take care of yourself and particularly your brain. And that’s where reading comes in. As it turns out, a little extra reading, like a brisk walk, can go a long way towards making you happier, healthier, and a little better at what you do. 

And we’re not only talking about scholarly articles or long academic books Spending a little more time each week reading a book you enjoy, for fun, had been shown to have all sorts of benefits.

Reading has been shown to improve memory. The process of reading, of taking in words on a page, interpreting the language, and imagining the scenes they describe, engages the brain in ways watching television simply doesn’t. And this mental workout can slow your brain’s decline as you age, keeping you sharper for longer, and may even stave off Alzheimer’s disease.

But it’s not just the long-term you should think about when deciding whether to put down the remote and pick up a book. There are more immediate benefits that can improve your life now and make you more effective both at work and at school. Research shows that readers of fiction are better able to interpret and understand the thoughts and feelings of others, the kind of empathy that allows you to relate to family, friends, co-workers, and clients.

Making reading a habit can also help alleviate depression, reduce your stress level, and when included in bedtime rituals, get you to sleep faster.

And perhaps most importantly for those with children, reading as a parent sets your children up to have better reading habits. Reading to your kids has been shown time and time again to improve things like communication skills and test scores. But showing your kids that you value reading enough to do it yourself will help them stick with it beyond homework and summer reading programs, and set them up for success in school and work.

So when the semester is finally over and you have some free time again, or when you’ve gotten one paper or project done and need to take some time to de-stress before beginning the next one, grab a book (a fun book, a book you want to read), and remember: it’s good for you.

Ready to read and don’t know where to start? Langsdale Library has a Leisure Reading Collection! Check out bestsellers, award winners, and more.

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