Saturday, May 30, 2015

Why You Should be Reading Right Now!

Don’t take my word for it but reading is one of the most important activities you can do to improve your health, finances and relationships.

 Research shows us the reading should be an activity you start when you are young. Reading for 20 minutes a day will translate into an increase in vocabulary of over a million words per year. If you read less than 5 minutes a day, 50% of the population will read better than you do. Just saying, you don’t have to take my word for it.

Studies also confirm that reading for pleasure continues to grow your vocabulary as you age. You know, I didn’t say it and you don’t have to take my word for it.

Survey says that reading independently “massively influences every aspect of our thinking.” It leads to growth in vocabulary and mathematics and “corresponds positively with ultimate positive success.” Teens who read engage in “deep intellectual and psychological exploration” in books they choose for themselves. Those are the findings of the experts so you know that you don’t have to take my word for it.

Achieving employment success is important for so many reasons and Oxford University says that reading as a teenager increases the chances of achieving a professional or managerial position by 14% for women and 10% for men. That’s from Oxford University so you don’t just have to take my word for it.

Canada’s National Reading Campaign, a professional reading advocacy group, thinks that Readers Save the World. Based on their research, readers have better health, greater empathy and more resilient mental health. They are a national think-tank devoted to this stuff so you don’t have to take my word for it.

Reading reduces stress 68% more than listening to music, 100% more than drinking a cup of tea, 300% more than running and 600% more than playing videogames. Stress can impact your health and take years off your life, thank goodness you don’t have to take my word for it.

 In a 2008 British study, readers were more likely to own their own home, less likely to divorce, less likely to drink or smoke. Readers were more likely to experience good mental health, use a computer while at work and more likely to vote. I’m a bit worried about the by-election in Mississauga with only 21% voter turnout, I guess they did not take my word for it.

Reading is not only good for you, it helps to support healthy communities in which you live. Readers are 16% more likely to donate goods or money to charitable causes. Volunteers comprise 17% more readers than non-readers. Those who benefit from donations and the work of volunteers can tell you how that impacts their lives, you certainly don’t have to take my word for it.

Societies enjoying a high level of empathy between its members are inherently safer and more enjoyable to live in. Toronto-based researchers have found a strong correlation between reading fiction and understanding those who are different than ourselves increasing our capacity for empathy. I’ve met these researchers and they are pretty smart so I am glad you don’t have to take my word for it.

As readers have lived many lives in the books they have read, they are better able to deal with real humans in their social relationships. Readers are shown to be more understanding of their partners and better able to participate in a romantic relationship. This ain’t just the ramblings of a romance novelist but a University of California study so you don’t have to take my word for it.

I am glad to hear that 82% of Canadians read for pleasure daily. Maybe you aren’t impressed but I consider it job security – you know. . . Before you make assumptions about who you think is spending their time reading, the National Reading Campaign’s research suggests the family income does not determine the amount of reading done in a home. They haven’t taken anyone else’s word for it and neither do you.

 Highest in urban areas, nearly 50% of the Canadian population has visited a library in the past year. Libraries continue to play an essential role in supporting employment, health and social relationships in our communities by offering reading materials to our readers. I only work here, so do you – it would be a conflict of interest if you just took our word for it.

Research suggests that reading is good for you. My mom read my first book within days of my birth, I visited libraries throughout my childhood and I’ve read hundreds of books. You might consider me somewhat successful and you might ask me why I am where I am. I am here because of Peter Rabbit, Jo March, Jane Eyre and Clara Callan. I’m here because I read cereal boxes, newspaper articles, MAD magazine and bus schedules. I’m here because my parents bought me books, took me to the library, helped me in school and let me pursue an education. I’m here because I read all these studies and completed a great presentation for you fine folks. Maybe you don’t believe me but I am just going to say that you can take me at my word!


  1. I too grew up with parents that read to me. I have a particular connection with nursery rhymes, which my mother read to me when she and I snuggled during her recommended bedrest while she was pregnant with my brother. I always have at least one book in my purse for those moments that I end up waiting for something: a bus, in a lineup, at the doctor's.

  2. I could not recite the last paragraph without choking up. I think I will frame and give it to my mom!

  3. I could not recite the last paragraph without choking up. I think I will frame and give it to my mom!