Why do People Like to Read? [Benefits & How to Start!]
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Have you ever sat down and thought why people, including yourself, really like to read? Are there benefits in reading and can you entice somebody who is not a frequent reader to start reading and eventually even like reading?
There are many reasons why people like to read. Some might want to escape from reality when they indulge in a book, and they are alone you always have a companion at hand. Other people like to read for scientifically-proven benefits like the enhancement of your memory and knowledge.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the personal reasons people like to read, look at scientifically-proven benefits and answer some questions regarding reading.
9 Reasons Why People Like to Read?
The following 9 reasons summarize to a certain extent the diversity of reasons why people like to read.
1. Reading Challenges You to Grow
The growing process starts when a person is still an infant and continues throughout life. Your first encounter with reading was probably when an adult read bedtime stories to you from a book.
Then after you had mastered picture books you grew into the stage of reading children’s books yourself. The next step was to grow into the habit of reading classics and novels.
And this growth and development never stop. As an adult, you grow into the habit of reading different genres and sometimes even books in foreign languages. You constantly challenge yourself to read new books to expand your knowledge base.
2. Reading Allows You to Release Yourself from Reality
Most people sometimes need to forget about the everyday realities and escape to a world with lesser or no restraints. You want to experience the feeling of living in other circumstances.
Reading allows you to do just that. A book can take you beyond your real world into an imaginary one.
2. Reading Broadens Your Perspective
Books let you experience life through the eyes of others. By reading, you learn to see common everyday situations from another perspective. A good book inspires empathy for the characters and “force” you to look at different perspectives.
You don’t have to agree with the character’s perspective, but at least you get the opportunity to understand other people’s perspectives.
4. A Reader is Never Alone
Life-changing situations can let you feel very lonely. It takes time to make new friends when you are in a new job or have moved to another city. A person experiences many transitions in a lifetime and every time it is good to have companionship.
The characters in a good book offer companionship. Studies have found that people turn to fiction when they’re alone and lonely. The intimacy of books can show people that there are others like them and who feel the way that they feel.
5. Reading Lets You Persevere
Frequent readers always say that reading helps them persevere through difficulties and gives them purpose in life again. In many instances, reading unlocks aspects of themselves they haven’t even known existed. Reading has the ability to let you feel optimistic and alive.
6. Reading Is Good Entertainment
People read to be entertained. They find books fun to read, interesting, and relaxing. Reading is one of the cheapest ways to get entertained – especially if you use your local library’s books.
7. Readers Meet People and Visit Places in the Books
Many readers like to read biographies and travel guides to meet people and visit places they’ll never be able to meet or visit in real life. But even fiction makes this possible.
Any story is set in a specific location – sometimes imaginary but often in real places. When the story is set in a real place you can get a lot of information regarding the place by only “living with the characters.”
8. Reading Reduces Stress
Frequent readers experience that reading even for short periods lets them relax. Their heart rate slows down and for a while, their minds are taken off stressing problems in real life.
Readers focus their minds on what they are reading and distance themselves from anxious thoughts and feelings.
9. Reading Enhances Your Knowledge
Readers like to read because apart from the imaginary stories they read, they simultaneously gather a lot of real information regarding different topics and real locations the characters talk about or visit.
Many people also like to read books that are related to their hobbies or general interest. Books with recipes or about home improvements fall in this category. By reading these types of books readers enhance their knowledge of their specific field of interest.
5 Scientific Benefits of Reading
Over the years research has been done on the benefits of reading and many things have been scientifically found to be beneficial to readers.
Although I’ve listed some of the benefits below, if you want to know more extensive ways reading can impact your life positively, make sure to read my article on the 21 Scientific Benefits of Reading!
1. It Improves Your Creativity and Imagination to Read Fiction
It has been established by researchers that if you feel stuck creatively, reading can give more perspective and “stretch the thinking muscles.” Reading a book, especially fiction stimulates your imagination.
In one study 100 people read either a fictional story or a nonfiction essay and then completed a questionnaire. The more creative answers all came from the group of fiction readers.
Thus, reading regularly improves creativity!
2. Reading Helps you Learn
In the 1990s, Keith Stanovich, a Professor of Applied Psychology and Human Development, at the University of Toronto and former Canada Research Chair of Applied Cognitive Science, performed reading studies to identify the link between reading and knowledge.
According to Stanovich, “avid readers” had 50% more fact-based knowledge than people who didn’t read much.
Make sure to check out my detailed article on how reading improves your knowledge and makes you a smarter person!
3. Reading Improves Memory
Research shows that reading helps to improve your memory even if it’s just a little bit every day. Researchers have found that reading stimulates the part of the brain responsible for attention and memory.
You may not even be aware that your mind is remembering things when you are reading, but the process exercises and stretches the brain.
4. Reading Books Can Extend Your Life
Reading can help you live longer. A long-term study by Yale University involved 3,600 adults older than 50. Those who read books for at least 30 minutes a day lived around 2 years longer than those who read only newspapers or magazines.
While we can’t say that reading ensures longer life, this study does show a connection. It could be that reading and its ability to improve cognitive functions keep neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s at bay.
5. Reading Boosts Your Empathy
In a research in 2013, different members of a group read different genres such as fiction and nonfiction.
A control group read nothing. Throughout the experiment, researchers learned that people who read fiction were better at identifying facial expressions and guessing how the characters in their books would act.
With these skills, you can “read” people better in the real world as well.
How to Get Interested in Reading?
To get somebody interested in reading, the reasons why books are disliked must be addressed. (If it is you that want to get more interested in reading, apply these tips to yourself.)
- Entice the person to read a book on a topic really interesting for the person. Discuss the content with the person to entice him to finish the book.
- Suggest to the new reader to take it slow. Help the person to set times during every day to read undisturbed for at least about 10 minutes.
- If the person dislikes books because he or she is a slow reader, entice the person to master speed reading.
If you need more helpful tips, make sure to check out my other article that covers the topic of how to get interested in reading in great detail!
Is Watching Videos a Better Way to Learn Than Reading?
This is often an interesting point of discussion for people in these modern times when knowledge can perhaps be gained faster by watching videos than reading!
I’ve actually written a detailed article on watching vs. reading, and which is better scientifically! Do make sure to give that article a read as well.
Researchers believe that the brain’s activity differences don’t make either reading or watching videos necessarily the better way to learn. It depends on what input you need from your book or video.
An interesting study has found that because books are considered more accurate and objective than videos, many students prefer to read their study material in books rather than watching it on video.
Research has also shown that students who had studied from printed books were more knowledgeable about the topic than those who only watched videos on the subject.
When it comes to learning, it is important to look at the retention ratio of the material read in books or watched on videos.
Studies have shown that on average people can remember 10% of what they’ve read, 20% of what they’ve heard, 30% of what they’ve seen, and 50% of what they’ve heard and seen.
According to these statistics, the best retention will be achieved if the student reads the printed material and views the content on video.
Researchers recommend that if a student is preparing for a test and it is possible in the available timeframe, the student must look at a video first to get an overview of the content of the study material.
Then read the printed content to really understand the nuances and meaning of the content. Also, memorize by using the printed material. And then finally, just before the test, look at the video again for revision.
2: How Many Hours Should You Read?
The average daily time spent reading by individuals in the United States in 2020 amounted to 20.4 minutes. Adults over the age of 75 are the most avid readers, spending almost at least an hour reading each day.
If you want to, it is possible to read a new book every day. It will take you 5 to 6 hours to read the whole book. Many retired people who are living alone try to read at least one book a day.
Related Article – Is It Good to Read a Book a Day? [Here’s What You Should Know!]
3: Is It Too Late to Start Reading? What Age Should You Start Reading?
Some children learn to read at 4 or 5 years of age, but most children only start to read at 6 when they start school.
On the other side of the spectrum, there are many people who haven’t been very keen readers throughout their whole life and then start reading as a hobby after retirement.
Thus, you can start at any stage of your life to appreciate books and become a frequent reader.
4: Can People Dislike Reading? Can They Still Take Up Reading?
It is possible for people to dislike reading. I’ve written about why people dislike reading in great detail in another article while providing suggestions on what can be done to help people take up reading when they dislike it! Make sure you check it out.
That said, some of the reasons include the following:
1. Lack of Skills
Generally speaking, one of the main reasons why some people dislike reading is because they lack good reading skills. If you for instance can’t read at an acceptable speed, it can be very frustrating to try and read through a whole book.
2. Bad Reading Experiences as a Child
Sometimes the disliking originated in bad reading experiences as a child. This can include “forced” reading times and irrelevant topics.
3. Concentration Problems
It is difficult to concentrate and focus on the content of a book if you are distracted easily. Your keep on thinking about other things when you are reading.
When this is frequently happening you’ll lose interest in books and even develop a dislike for reading. You will tend to rather do something else that needs less concentration than reading for leisure.
4. Peer Pressure and Family’s Influence
Peer pressure is one of the reasons why many teenagers dislike reading. Reading is often seen by students as something you have to do to please your teachers.
If your friends don’t read for leisure you’ll probably also not be a reader. If a child’s family dislikes reading the child is not in an environment where he or she can interact socially with books and share the love for books.
In research done in 2011, it was found that family culture is the dominant influence in developing a love of reading.
5. Perception that Reading is a Waste of Time
Some students can dislike reading because they feel that it is a waste of time to read something that you can’t remember or understand fully afterward.
6. But it Is Never too Late to Change your Attitude
If the reasons for disliking reading have been discovered and they are things that can be addressed, the person can be guided in small steps to start reading and eventually even like reading.
About the Author
Akansha is a former business journalist and a seasoned communications professional. She is the founder of TheBookBuff, an avid storyteller, and a lifelong biblophile! Check out her profile page to know more about Akansha.