Book it: The advantages of recreational reading
Pleasure reading should be a priority
By Riley Nerbas, Contributor
For us students, pleasure reading outside of class material can be a harrowing experience of never finding time. We have projects to finish, friends to see, and events to attend: who has the time for reading a book of 200 pages or at the very least a ten page short story? I am here to tell you the advantages and the reasons why we should take time out of our busy schedules to sit down and get lost in those white pages filled with black script.
Reading can help reduce stress
Reading before a big event or an essay or a test helps shift the mind away from the upcoming task, reducing anxiety. Reading has helped me shift my focus from a future unknown and focus it on the present with a story before my eyes. Books reduce the clutter in a student’s brain, making it easier to write an exam or essay.
For the brain, pleasure reading reaps the same benefits as going to the gym. It can help with concentration, memory, and kick starting your day. Personally, I became an avid reader in my late teens, and I can tell you my grades and focus have steadily improved since then. I found myself sitting in front of exam booklets (even math ones) without my mind straying from the problems that sat before me. I now wake up early and read a chapter in a book before I start my day.
Reading improves your vocabulary
I’ve found the number of words that I now use in everyday conversation has increased exponentially. I went from describing things as gross, lovely and dark, to grotesque, exquisite and somber. Of course, you could use a thesaurus to find those words, but they have always seemed like unexpected surprises to me when I find them. You might even end up using a new word consistently throughout the school papers you write in a given period.
Reading and writing skills improve through pleasure reading
This will cut down on the amount of time you spend reading a textbook, which leaves more time for friends or further pleasure reading. Once it took me five minutes to read a page, now it only takes me two and half minutes. The ideas I have while writing a paper have also improved. They become more concise after I have read during the day, making the writing of essays easier, shorter, and sometimes enjoyable.
It’s hard to find time for reading, though there are ways to set time apart from your schedule for a book. Setting a time for reading, a goal of a chapter a day or a certain number of pages can help accomplish taking time out to read. A student can read during television commercials while catching their favorite show or read for thirty minutes before they go to sleep. And if you feel it’s a solitary act, you can establish a book club with other like-minded students.
As for the students who are reading this, getting your hands on a book is also very cheap thanks to the community libraries we have in the city. Membership is free and you have access to pretty much any book you can think of. And if you are feeling stressed, take 30 minutes and read a chapter in a book, I know it will help you calm down. So pick up a book sometime, whether it’s Dr. Seuss or the Communist Manifesto, it has the chance to change and improve your life!