Caitlin Muchow ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
As school goes back into session, students around the world dread the stacks of assigned reading that are soon to be covering their desks. But even when faced with all that required reading, students should try to remember the importance of reading outside the classroom, and those who are no longer in school should remember that reading isn’t just for students.
Educational reading is obviously very important, because students learn critical thinking and analysis skills, as well as a wealth of other skills from doing all the extra work, such as essays and discussions, that come with classroom reading. However, if one only ever reads books they are assigned, they might miss out on the fun of reading and limit their world view. In 2013, Huffington Post polled one thousand adults on their reading habits. Twenty-eight percent said they hadn’t read a book in the past year, and another twenty-five percent had only read between one and five books in the past year. This is why it is important to promote reading for pleasure during school, because reading can offer so many benefits beyond those that are seen as only benefiting students. According to Huffington Post, those benefits include things like “mental stimulation [that] can potentially slow Alzheimer’s, and can actually enhance your memory. Expanding your vocabulary, thereby making you an articulate speaker, is an asset at any job. Reading even helps you empathize with other people, and other cultures.”
Sparing the time to read outside of class or as an adult offers several advantages. Reading for pleasure offers a whole world of books that are not available in an educational setting. When readers get to decide what they want to read, they feel the true joy of reading something that engages their whole mind and makes everything around them fade away, which is difficult when reading with analysis questions in mind. Also, when readers can choose their own material, it allows them to try a lot of different kind of genres, which facilitates a love of reading because they can find the type of book that really interests them.
Being open to a wider variety of genres can also open readers up to a lot of material that they wouldn’t be aware of in a school setting, which increases their educational opportunities exponentially. Teachers and professors do not have nearly enough time to teach students all the amazing things there are to know. Readers have the opportunity to read books that teach them about world issues and events in a more in-depth way than any other educational opportunity offers, such as watching the news or studying the subject in some classes. A well-written book can truly immerse readers in other cultures and various subjects and give them the best opportunity to really empathize with the characters in the novel and their real-life counterparts. Reading is the best way to beat ignorance and make the world a more knowledgeable, caring place, one reader at a time.