The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study found that only 26 percent of students in England enjoy reading. That’s a really sad statistic. If you can’t remember when last you picked up an intriguing book and lost yourself in a story, it’s time to read more and do so with your children, too. There is a rich legacy of libraries in Muslim lands, which highlight the need for more reading, especially in our modern time where we are distracted by technology that prevents us from engaging with our imagination and the world around us. Here is why reading is so important for you and your family.
Reading Prevents Cognitive Decline
When you read, you decrease your risk of mental diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Protein that accumulates in the brain is directly linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have found that there are lower levels of these proteins in people who read, write, or play games. While you’re reading, you’re firing up your brain, learning lots of new things that keep your brain sharp.
Reading Decreases Depression
If you’re feeling down about life, reach for a book. Research from the University of Liverpool found that people who read are 21 percent less likely to say they feel depressed and 10 percent more likely to have positive self-esteem. Books transport you to other worlds and can help to distract you from what’s bothering you.
Reading Is Relaxing
A study by the University of Sussex found reading is an activity that eliminates stress. Researchers monitored people’s muscle tension and heart rates, finding that it takes just six minutes of reading for people to relax. In order to combat stress, Muslims can do well to turn to the Qur’an which offers a lot of comfort in the face of stress and trauma. There are also great books about understanding the Qur’an and daily wisdom to apply to your life that can prove highly valuable.
Reading Can Boost Your Sleep Quality
Studies have shown that poor quality of sleep is tied to electronic use before bed, such as using tablets or smartphones. These electronics emit a blue light that stimulates the brain, and can therefore make you battle to fall asleep. Avoiding screens is important. Reading with a book, in a dimly lit room, is a healthier way to encourage relaxation and sleep before bedtime, and is especially useful if your children are too energetic before bed.
Reading To Children Improves Their Vocabulary And Knowledge
Read wonderful books to your children to increase their vocabulary and knowledge. Benefits of regular reading time with children include getting them ready for school, teaching them to focus and concentrate on a task, teaching them new words that will enrich their language, and boosting their imagination which can make them more creative. Studies have found that children who are read to from when they’re really young have better language development and higher language scores in school. Reading with toddlers in which you let them hold the book and turn its pages can also develop their motor skills.
Reading Makes You Empathetic
Essex Libraries has tackled the question: what makes a book encourage empathy in readers? Something they found is that well-rounded characters that the reader can believe in are important, as well as characters who make it easy for the reader to feel they would do the same thing if they were in the characters’ shoes. Reading books to children can help them to imagine what it would be like to be in those characters in the stories, helping them take the empathy and understanding of others learned from books and use these skills in real life.
Reading is one of the most powerful ways you can enrich your life and help your children grow. By dedicating to daily reading, you can boost your brain function and gain better skills, such as empathy, that will make you a better person.
Jane Sandwood – Freelance Writer