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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr Suess

Reading is perhaps one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to improve your English skills. Even if reading is something you struggle with, the more you do it, the easier it will become, which will help you in so many ways. In fact, there are multiple scientifically proven benefits to reading frequently. And hey, you can’t argue with science!

Here are just a few of the fabulous benefits of reading:

1. Improving Attention Span

I know for me; my attention span has become very short. I get distracted so often and I find it a lot easier to watch another episode of a show then to pick up a book. But I know that when I do opt for a book instead, my focus improves so much. Putting my phone somewhere else and melting into a book is such a nice feeling and it is one I don’t have nearly enough. If you’re sick of having a short attention span, try reading – studies have proven it can help you stay more focused, which can boost your ability to learn and work efficiently![1]

2. Building Insight & Empathy

Maybe my favourite thing about reading is the insight and empathy it gives me into different people and ideas. I’ve read books from the perspective of people with OCD (Am I Normal Yet) and Asperger’s (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time), of transgender teenagers (The Art of Being Normal) and of someone who has lost their friend to police brutality (The Hate U Give). I value the understanding this has given me of these different experiences and the empathy I have gained. And I’m apparently not alone – studies show that reading fictional novels genuinely help in developing empathy, an important skill for understanding and connecting to others.[2]

3. Brain Gains

Reading actually makes your brain stronger. For real! In fact, it been shown that people who frequently read throughout their life are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s.[3] The science behind this? When you learn new things, you develop new neural pathways. Let’s think of these like ‘brain-muscles’. Like building a muscle through weight lifting, the more you train that muscle, the stronger it will grow. Reading regularly trains your brain to develop neural pathways that improve your information absorption and recall, improving your overall memory. Pretty damn cool if you ask me.

4. Cultivating Language & Knowledge

Importantly for school, reading helps you to expand your vocabulary and language skills, which can help you to write better and speak more articulately, and being well-spoken is a great skill, especially when you start looking for jobs. The amount that you can learn through reading fiction, and especially non-fiction novels, is truly infinite and is a sure way to broaden your understanding of the world.

5. Relaxation

Life can be very stressful, especially in school, but a study from the University of Sussex shows that reading for just six minutes can help you relax by as much as 68% (!!)[4] Taking care of your mental health is super important and if you want a break that can keep you feeling a bit productive while being genuinely relaxing, reading a book you enjoy is a great option.

So grab a book, find somewhere comfy to curl up and get those brain juices f l o w i n g.

By Lydia Fagen

[1] http://esciencecommons.blogspot.com/2013/12/a-novel-look-at-how-stories-may-change.html

[2] https://science.sciencemag.org/content/342/6156/377.abstract

[3] https://www.alzinfo.org/articles/reading-alzheimers-bay/

[4] https://www.kumon.co.uk/blog/reading-reduces-stress-levels/