We’ve all heard it from very young ages that to read anything is somehow better than reading nothing at all. At times, it doesn’t even make sense. How could reading a newspaper or a comic book or a fictional novel make any difference at all to our lives?

I’m here to spell it all out.

Reading Drives Literacy

Reading a book or a comic or anything at all of interest drives your basic literacy. Most people think that by writing well and learning how to write even better that their literacy improves. But truthfully, it is reading that drives the success in literacy. One book leads to another.

Do you remember back to when you were in grade one? Somehow you had a chart at the end of the year that said exactly how many of those small six-paged books you had read. In retrospect, it seems amazing that we managed to do it. Wouldn’t reading day after day be boring?

But the truth was, it wasn’t boring. By reading itself, we continuously read another book and another. There wasn’t any kind of strain. Just a journey of reading that had no end in sight. The chart stood as a reminder only of all that we had accomplished.

Writing does impact other parts of who we become but reading truly makes us literate.

Reading Improves Mental Aptitude

Yes, we can read whatever we want and actually become better readers and get stronger mentally. How can this be? Reading a romance or a mystery doesn’t seem to have anything to do with rocket science and the study of history. It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with subjects we will learn about in school with dates. Instead, it appears to have nothing to do with anything that would increase mental aptitude.

Scientists long ago concluded that we are using as little as a small percentage of our brains. If we fail to use our brain, we lose those areas. They shut down, grow a bit of fat and eventually, they are of no use to us. Awakening those areas would take too long and most people wouldn’t bother. So what does reading have to do with this?

The very thought of staring at words and turning them into thoughts and ideas as you read along effortlessly means that your brain is working. It is on the job. Great. So I can read anything and get smarter?

Readers Can Count On Earning More

Many people have said to me that their father worked in a mill and earned countless dollars a year without reading or having any kind of higher learning. In fact, that person earned so many thousands of dollars a year on a grade nine education.

There are exceptions to every rule. There are always the people who are naturals at learning and don’t need the grade number behind their name. No problem. I totally agree. But would you rather be the person earning the thousands more managing the mill or being one of the guys who sharpen the saws and watch the machinery for hours? Would you rather be the one selling the cars than the one who thought to open it as a business with all the paperwork it entailed?

It’s up to the individual. There are lots of jobs that require heavy amounts of reading and they would be the jobs that automatically make more money.

Readers Get Inside Jokes and Even Learn Big Words

There is a lot of emphasis on reading non-fiction these days with government bringing in non-fiction based standardized reading tests. But most non-fiction will deal with a subject and not people. Even in reading fantasy, science fiction, romance and mystery, readers are exposed to all manner of lifestyles. They come to admire the characters and of course along the way, they learn words from other cultures or languages as well as big words in their own languages.

Having been exposed to all those different lives, readers understand more about human dynamics. They get inside jokes and can get along better in society.

Reading Is Cool

Not a lot of people will admit to seeing the latest in reality TV with the exception of a few. Not a lot of people will admit to spending hours on chat lines or on the internet in chatrooms but pretty much anybody will admit and promote an author’s work that they truly love. There is no shame in reading. Since TV watching isn’t cool in all groups and the internet isn’t cool in all groups and chat lines aren’t cool in all groups, that really leaves reading.

So pick up a book and a pair of shades. When it boils down to anything, reading a good book is as cool as it gets.

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