The blogs this summer will focus on my favorite subject, reading, starting with independent reading (choosing on your own what to read) and moving through all aspects, ending with reading and learning from textbooks.
So, why should you read? What are the benefits?
There are multiple benefits to independent reading, not the least of which are entertainment, escape, learning, enlightenment, and pure joy. There are so many types of books it is impossible to list them all, but there is something for everyone no matter what your interests, profession, etc.
While reading is mainly a solitary activity, it can be social when talking about a book in a group. There are an amazing number of book groups – no one really knows how many as most of them are a group of people who decide to get together on their own to discuss books. When my friends group met at a local restaurant there were two other groups meeting at the same time!
Besides the endless reasons to read listed above, there are two specific benefits:
- Increasing or maintaining your power of concentration: Many people think that all of the time we spend on our electronic devices is lowering our ability to concentrate for an extended period of time. See Nicholas Carr’s book, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain, for further information. By reading without interruption you are keeping your power of concentration strong.
- Gaining empathy: When we read about someone else’s experiences and feelings from their perspective we are better able to understand how they feel and can transfer that awareness to our everyday lives. (Schwanenflugel & Knapp. (2016). The Psychology of Reading. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.)
Whatever type of books you like, hopefully you will have time this summer to read for the pure pleasure of reading!
The next blog will address the popular program on college campuses, One Book-One College, how the books are used, and some strategies for reading.
Consider voting for your favorite book this summer at The Great American Read, sponsored by PBS. My vote went to The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusack.