The Return of Reading: A dive into why and how we should be reading more

By: Brian Lines

I would like you to do something for me: try and recall the last book you read through entirely that was not tied to school. Perhaps it is a novel you read over a summer, or a young-adult fiction book you read in middle school or even a kids book you remember reading over and over again in your childhood. You don’t need to be ashamed of how long ago it might be or what book it was. 

For most of us, reading has become either a chore we avoid doing, or a luxury we can’t afford anymore. We live in a world where there are so many other forms of entertainment and things that can fill our leisure time other than books. Why would I spend my extra time in the day reading when I can watch this show I enjoy, or play this game I’m good at or catch up with friends on social media? When I think about it, it is strange: we all grew up reading a lot. 

Waltonian | The Waltonian A photo of a book in the woodsSource: Rikka Amebos/Pexels

Though we often read as kids because we had to, I’m willing to bet most of us enjoyed reading.

This article is not meant to point out the problems of our digital age or to shame you for not reading very much. The point of this article is to tell you why you should make an attempt to read more again, but also to tell you that you are fully capable of making a return to reading.

I’m sure we’ve all been told that we should read more because it is physically healthy for us. And this is true. According to BBC Teach, reading does something about stimulating neural pathways, and strengthening our senses and memories. But all of the physical health benefits and statistics you heard aside, reading can genuinely help you feel better and live a better life. 

When confronted with a complex character in a piece of literature, you can learn more about yourself and your own personality based on how you react to the character. This isn’t just a helpful development for children. If you are someone who struggles with interacting with people or understanding why you feel the way you do about certain things, literature is a very effective and safe space to learn more about yourself. It isn’t always that we put ourselves in the shoes of the characters that we read, but we often experience the things that they do when we read their stories. 

Reading literature, especially about people very different from us and experiencing things we never will, we continue to grow our empathy and understanding of those around us. Additionally, reading can grow our own confidence and reduce the amount of stress we feel. According to Healthline, spending time just sitting down with a book and only focusing on the words we are reading calms us down and can lower our stress levels on a massive scale.

Now I am sure some of that sounds cheesy to you, but I promise that taking some time to read more than you already do can benefit you a whole lot more than you realize. But I know for some, reading just doesn’t feel like an option. I don’t have enough time to sit down and read. I can never bring myself to read rather than do other things in my free time. I get it, I do, reading is not a part of our regular lives anymore. But it can be. 

If you are struggling to find time to read, pick something to read that sounds even the slightest bit interesting and read however much you can before going to bed, it doesn’t even have to be a whole chapter. You’ll find that you have more time than you think to read. If you’re struggling to read instead of other leisurely activities, I encourage you to go back and read that book you thought of at the beginning of this article. 

Return to the stories of your childhood. Find books that you know you enjoyed reading and give them a reread, it might just remind you of the childhood joy reading might have brought you.

Sources: BBC Teaching, HealthLine

BBC Teaching –,week%20increases%20health%20and%20wellbeing.

HealthLine –

Leave a Reply