According to a study led by Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Center, about 23% of 1005 participants (randomly called via landline and cell phone) had not read a book in the past year, including ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks. With the massive influx of information that students receive on a daily basis thanks to the Internet, it is not a surprising statistic. Not surprising, but quite alarming.
The Benefits of Reading
Reading is known to have some obvious benefits, such as improving vocabulary and of course increasing the breadth of knowledge that one has. But recent studies have shown some other less known benefits of reading.
Reading improves your ability to step into another person’s shoes.
While it has been known that reading can put you figuratively in a character’s shoes, recent brain scans using MRI technology have shown that reading a book can “transport you into the body of the protagonist.” This ability to empathize with another person’s experiences is a powerful and important tool that students will use throughout their lives, whether in the professional setting or in their personal lives.
Reading improves your ability to visualize in the same way athletes do.
According to an article on Psychology Today, the act of reading (and more specifically, reading fiction) improves the reader’s proverbial imagination muscle, thus allowing them to create stronger visualizations that are similar to techniques used by athletes. This study conducted by a group from the Department of Biomedical Engineering of the Lerner Research Institute in Ohio shows that visualization can actually improve performance even without actual physical practice. This visualization process is beneficial to students, whether they’re training for athletics or for any other purpose