One of America’s former presidents Harry S. Truman once proclaimed that “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” Our Agency, YES, INC. believes that reading is an important key to be effective. One of the great things our CEO encourages us all to do each day is to devote time to reading daily. You may find that the more you read the more engaged in life, work, and other ventures you will be. So, teachers, parents, and scholars, it’s time to check in with you on your reading habits! With the huge spike in remote work and online social media, you may have realized that your daily reading habits center around tweets and Facebook updates. When was the last time you submerged yourself in a great book whether it be for work or pleasure? As life continues to change, it’s more important now than ever to make sure you make time to read.
Did you know that all successful leaders are readers? If you study successful people you will find that one of the things they all have in common is that they are all avid readers. As an educator, it’s important to dedicate time to reading daily, not only for your development and continued success but also for those whom you are teaching. After all, they will become our leaders in the future. Having said this, it’s time to ask yourself when was the last time you were able to sit down for any length of time to read a book or a substantial magazine article without life’s tempting distractions? Reading has a significant number of benefits so if you’re a person who doesn’t make a habit of reading regularly, you might be missing out. The benefits listed are just some of the benefits you and your students can experience from spending as little as 20 minutes a day, or more reading.
- Reading exercises your brain
- Reading improves academic/ work performance
- Reading enhances concentration
- Reading improves relationships
- Reading increases curiosity and imagination
- Reading helps develop strong listening skills
Along with making time to read each day, it’s also very important to consider your purpose for reading. It may be a good thing to ask yourself “What is my reason for reading?” and “Why should I start or continue reading?”. Being intentional about why and what you are reading will help you to focus on learning lessons from what you read that will help you to grow. This week's blog will help you discover the benefits of being a daily reader that you may not be familiar with, so keep reading!
Did you know that there is scientific research that proves that reading can actually make you healthier? Global English Editing has conducted vast research on 7 Science-Backed Ways That Reading Makes you Healthier. The infographic below summarizes their findings and will provide you with some interesting statistics from their research on reading and your health
So now we know that reading can make us healthier but there are more benefits to reading that helps you and your students develop personally and professionally.
Reading can help you to reaffirm your values. Reading will help you solidify your beliefs because reading can provide you with a rationale to reinforce why you believe what you believe. Reading can also challenge your values and your thought process. You may also discover a different perspective and understanding of why others believe differently from you. Reading can help you to collect ideas and generate new thoughts. Lisa Bu has a fantastic TED talk about how reading can open your mind. It’s only 6 minutes long and is well worth watching.
Another benefit of reading is that the act of engaging with a book can really help to eliminate stress, and as seen above, help those who suffer from depression and anxiety. Reading fiction is a great way to decrease stress. When we read fiction it invites everyone into another world giving us a break from our own lives and reality. Therefore, reading can help us inspire creativity and imagination because we can find enjoyment in the lives of the characters in the books we read. We can also make connections and empathize with the characters we read about. Sometimes immersing yourself in a fictitious book can help you to get through a difficult day. According to an article in The Telegraph and research conducted by the University of Sussex, reading reduces stress levels by 68%, which is greater than listening to music or taking a walk! Other research indicates that teachers who read for pleasure feel more confident, calm, and stress-free in the classroom.
Reading will also make you a better writer. To write well, you need to read well and often. Reading every day is best. Did you know that reading increases your vocabulary more than talking or direct teaching? Reading forces us to look at words that we might not have seen or heard recently. Not only will reading make you a stronger writer but it will also increase your memory. In fact, reading will actually make you smarter. This may seem like the most obvious benefit of reading especially for educators who have been in the field for a while, but for the sake of being thorough with our list of the benefits of reading, did you know that people who read have higher GPA’s, higher intelligence, and general knowledge than those who don’t?
Anne E. Cunningham’s paper What Reading Does for the Mind (pdf version), found that reading, in general, makes you smarter, and it keeps you sharp as you age. Steven Covey suggests in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, that effective people need to continuously sharpen the saw. What he means by this is that they read, they learn, and they keep seeking knowledge. Perhaps this is why many of our world’s most successful and accomplished people have a passion for reading in common. One of the ways that reading makes us smarter is that it will boost our analytical skills. Also found in Cunningham’s research, daily readers are not only able to make connections and boost their general knowledge but they are also able to spot patterns quicker. If you can spot patterns quicker that means that your analytical skills have grown. The fact is that no matter what you want to do or become, you can’t do it without knowledge. Reading is an excellent way to get where you want to go. The identified benefits of daily reading thus far are uplifting and encouraging but wait, that’s not where the benefits of reading end! Check out some of the other benefits of being a daily reader below.
Teachers who model consistent reading habits help students develop a passion for reading!
Often we look to leaders for guidance and to be the example for the masses. We lean on our leaders to show us the way when we need direction. As stated earlier, leaders are readers. Reading has been proven to make people smarter. If leaders are not reading and continuously growing as individuals and in their leadership ability then they are not setting a good example for others to emulate. Taking time out of every single day to read will help you to become a more effective leader in your role. Educators are leaders for our students. When we make time to read with our students or model what this looks like it will help students develop good reading habits. Teachers play an important role in fostering a reading culture in their classrooms and helping students to develop a lifelong love of reading. Check out The infographic for a convincing description on the importance of not skipping out on 20 minutes of daily reading.
You must set a good example for your students and model good reading habits and consistency. Having an established routine for reading not only for yourself but also for your students will help nurture good reading habits. As evidenced by the infographic above. Of course, there will be times when you will miss a day or two, (due to other activities- that’s just life) however, when there is a routine established it will make it easier to get back on track with picking up on your daily reading routines for yourself and your students. In fact, teachers who read themselves and share their love of reading can, in turn, encourage children to read more.
Lastly, reading can help you prioritize and create goals for yourself. Many times we’re certain we know what we want in life. Reading can reveal things that you don’t know about yourself and by reading you can help bring out recurring thoughts that process while you are reading. Essentially when you read you can allow your mind to drift to things that you would like to do. In time, or perhaps even right away. As you read your ambitions and your goals pop into your mind and allow you to see what you really want to do, and better yet, what you could accomplish by being inspired by characters, events, an/or situations that you can relate to.
No time to read?
If you are one of those people who just don’t think they have enough to read or that there simply isn't enough time in one day to pick up a book, it may be more simpler than you think. More than likely we are always managing to make time for the things that are important to us. But how well are you making use of the time you have? How do you prioritize your time so that you are being as effective as you’d like to be? A simple way to evaluate your time and how it’s being spent is to track what you are doing throughout the day and ask yourself questions like “how much TV am I watching?”, or “ How much time am I spending on social media or playing video games?” When we evaluate what we deem is important and how much time we are spending on a given activity you probably will find that you could easily replace or reduce the amount of time spent on an activity or a task to read, even if it's just for a few minutes a day.
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