When I was younger, I was a reading fanatic.
I could finish a book in a day, no sweat. I would even read during mealtime (which resulted in at least one book stained with egg yolk).
During the beginning of my teenage years, I got an iPod touch, a laptop, and later an iPhone. These devices competed heavily for my reading time. I still had the desire to read for fun, but I was allowing less important and productive things (like social media) fill up my spare time.
After months of not reading any books (besides ones for school), I finally made a change. I set a timer for an hour and invited my two little sisters to a contest to see who could read the most pages in the allotted time. They were thrilled and for the next hour the house was silent — except for the sound of turning pages. Needless to say, my mom was delighted with the activity we’d chosen.
That hour of reading went by fast. My sisters and I had a blast doing something together, and I was finally reading a book just for fun again!
I quickly realized how beneficial a period of focused reading time is. Now I intentionally set aside time to read every day. I still occasionally miss days, but I’m improving.
Here are five reasons why you should set aside time to read every day.
1. It could prolong your life. Literally.
A recent study by researchers at Yale found that people who read books on a daily basis, on average, tend to live two years longer than those who do not. To quote one of the researchers, Avni Bavishi, as to why book readers live longer, “this effect is likely because books engage the reader’s mind more–providing more cognitive benefit, and therefore increasing the lifespan.”
2. Reading a book forces us to focus.
The world around us is a distracting place. Most of today’s entertainment (such as social media) comes to us in short bursts that we don’t have to focus on. In this day and age, we can be mindlessly entertained by social media for hours on end. However, when you are reading a book, you can’t scroll through quickly. You actually have to pay attention and catch all the details.
3. Reading is one of the best ways to learn.
Ben Carson, a world famous neurosurgeon, says, “I emphasize that active learning from reading is better than passive learning such as listening to lectures or watching television. When you read, your mind must work by taking in letters and connecting them to form words.”
4. We can be mentored through a book.
While we may not have opportunities to work with, or even meet, some of the most successful people in the world, we do have the opportunity to read about them. From reading their stories, we can learn what they did that was so beneficial to their lives and then apply those principles to our own stories.
5. Reading opens up whole new worlds to us.
We may not be able to physically leave our corners of the world very often, but a book can take us to a place far away or to a time long ago. If you feel like heading to England, you could open the wardrobe door and stumble into Narnia with Lucy, or you could travel back farther in time and experience the battle between Bloody Mary and Princess Elizabeth for the English throne.
You could taste what it would be like to run an entire orphanage by faith with George Muller or you could feel the fear of hiding wanted people in your home with Corrie ten Boom. If you are more of an American time traveler, you could wander the prairies with Laura Ingalls Wilder or grow up during the Civil War with Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.
Better yet, you can do all of this without leaving the comfort of your home!
I hope this has encouraged you to set aside time every day to read a book. Books take us outside our normal day-to-day life and allow us to experience someone else’s life or learn something valuable from another person.
Set aside the time to read. It will be a blessing to you.
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i’m guilty of not reading as much as I did up to 9th grade. To be honest, well, I’m mentally disabled (autism, Bipolar, etc.) and fictionnal worlds, especally historical fiction or atlternative fiction ( When world events such as the Civil War are reversed.) They take me to a whole different world….. I forget my problems and reality.
Historical fiction is my favorite genre!
I definitely agree, Evan. I love going to different worlds in books. Makes me feel a little bit like a time traveler. 😉
Reading is awesome. 😀 It’s like escaping your world for a few hours.
Audrey, your idea about including siblings in reading time is phenomenal. I am going to do this every few days with my little sibs. Thanks!!!
That’s awesome Linnea! Reading is something that definitely helps me connect with my sisters. At the end of our reading challenge, my youngest sister had actually succeeded in reading the most pages (which was a definite surprise). Maybe I’ll beat her next time. 😉
I loved the idea of getting your siblings in on it too! I love reading and read almost any book I can get my hands on (within my standards, of course) and this article encouraged me! Thank you! 🙂
I’m so glad this was encouraging to you! Getting siblings in on the action is definitely fun. My little sisters are starting to get to a more advanced reading level and I really enjoy seeing them read some books that were my favorites when I was their age.
I love this! I am a reading fanatic as well! I will zip through books like nobody’s business and sometimes I even read the phone book! Recently I am finding I don’t want to read (maybe because I can’t find any good books to read 😰) But this definatley encouraged me to start reading again. Thanks Audrey!
Ugh, yes. I’ve been reading for so long and I’m kinda picky about what genres I like, that there are not many books left in the library that I want to read!
Have you heard of Chuck Black’s books, especially his newest series called “Wars of the Realm”? Those are fantastic fiction.
No–I’ll have to look them up!
Yes, they are very good.
I’m so glad that this was encouraging to you! It is hard to stay interested in reading when you run out of good books. I’m ready Return to the Hiding Place by Hans Poley right now. It’s really good (and very intriguing). If you enjoy history it might be a book that you would like to look into.
Do you want recommendations? 😀 I love giving recommendations, and I have one really, really good book that I’ve been trying to get people to read and no one will listen to me, LOL. So I can give you a list…
I am curious what the book is that you keep trying to get people to read that no one will listen to you about. 😉 Although I have no time for extra reading right now (I read a lot for school), I love adding books to my book list of to-reads. 🙂
😀 The Boys in the Boat. It’s a fantastic book about the 1936 rowing Olympic Rowing team from Washington state. It follows Joe Rantz, one of the rowers, and weaves the story of his life so well with rowing, world events, and describing the races so well it feels like you’re right there in the shell, or on the shore watching them race by. It is literally the best book I have read in the last 6 months. I can’t recommend it enough… It grabs you from the first chapter and never lets go till you finish the book.
That sounds really interesting! I have added it to my list of books to read! Thanks for the suggestion! 😉
That would be great Regan! What’s the book called? Just give me the title and I will read it for you! 😀
Audrey, I love this!! I learned many years ago how to hold a book in my left hand (flipping the page with my pinky) and wield a fork with my right hand (my non-dominant hand: not gonna lie, I’m kinda proud;) Thanks for the great reminder to put my phone down… as soon as I finish catching up on the Reb! Haha!
I’m so glad you enjoyed my article Hailey! That is pretty awesome that you mastered eating and reading at the same time. 😉 I eventually gave up on that pursuit lol.
That’s pretty awesome!
Enjoyed “reading this”!!! 🙂 I always read during meal times!!!
I do too…. and my books bear the marks! 😛
I’ve read while eating, cooking, but also while brushing my teeth… Anyone else?
I really enjoyed this post! I found that Yale study super interesting.
I read while brushing my teeth A LOT. Multi-tasking for the win, am I right? 😉
I’m pretty sure I’ve done all of the above with books, except taking a hike. I try to save hike time for the hike!
I thought I was the only one who read while I brushed my teeth. Thank goodness I am not the only lunatic! 🙂 you should see the look on my dad’s face when he catches me doing that. Lol!
Every read while you took a walk? Now that illicits funny looks.
I take books on mountain hikes sometimes to read at the top. 🙂
There’s a few of us lunatics around(: annd, no, I have never done that. That’s where audio books come in for me!
Ah, smart girl. I should give that a try! 🙂
I actually have had to do some last minute reading for class as I walk to school, but I could never really tell what kind of looks I was getting because of being so intensely into my book. 😉
Great article and points.
I looove to read and can basically say I grew up with the Wilders and March girls. 🙂
I love reading! My parents don’t like me reading a lot though. I used to read walking down school halls and stairs!
Great article! I’ve been a voracious reader since I was little. Sometimes I actually read too much. 🙂 But I think I’ve learned more from reading than I even realize!
I love all your references to classics- I adore Chronicles of Narnia, am just rereading Little Women(Louisa May Alcott is an old favorite), The Hiding Place was so wonderful, and Laura Ingalls Wilder is one of my all-time favorites. Your references reflect great reading tastes!
Thank you Regan! Have you read the unabridged version of Little Women? It is really really long, but so worth it.
Actually I have. And Little Men. And Jo’s Boys. And wished there was more, after roughly 2000 pages of the March family. Louisa May Alcott crushed that hope, though, saying at the end of Jo’s Boys “And now having endeavored to suit every one by many weddings, few deaths, and as much prosperity as the eternal fitness of things will permit, let the music stop, the lights die out, and the curtain fall forever on the March family.”
I guess she was tired of the March family…
I love reading and I try to do it. But it gets hard when you do sports, have a lot of homework, and friends who want to talk to you a lot. I found out that reading before going to bed is a good time to do it. There’s not much else to do and it can also help you go to sleep faster (because you’re using your mind to do it). And if you’re having a bad day reading can help clear your sky. I loved your references to books, my mom used to read me and my brothers the Chronicles of Narnia on the way to and sometimes from church, until we ran out :(. I had to read Little Women when I was homeschooled as an assignment. Then last year my school did the play Little Women. So it was good to read it. Another good book is Little Men, which is the sequel to Little Women.
Audrey I’m so proud of you! You should have seen the grin on my face to see something you wrote published on a website, and with so many comments! What a great job, girl! <3 It's amazing to see where God can take us, am I right? 🙂 So excited to read your article, and what a good one, too! It was a great reminder to me, someone who works a fair amount and who owns a horse, that I need to set aside time to do some reading as well. So thank you. Amazed by your talent and so excited for you, great job!
Thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words Emily! I agree, God blesses our work and takes it way beyond what we could ever imagine!
I’m making my friend who hates reading read this!!!
Lol, that’s awesome Rachel. Maybe I’ll be able to persuade her through this article to enjoy reading.
Him, lol! He’s so anti-reading I’m not sure I can make him, but I’ll give it a try…Thank you so much for this article!
yea this is a really helpful meme