So this post is slightly biased, coming from a reader. I don’t like the term ‘voracious’ because it indicated I already may be reading as much as I can and it leaves me without any future goals. So yes, this post is slightly biased because there are some minor things lik vision problems with too much reading (only if you don’t observe book-distance hygeine for the most part) and the whole ebook discussion and how reading off a screen may not be healthy.
There’s of course this whole question of trashy books, but I’ve made my peace with it. They may be a good starting point for non-readers and there need to be many ordinary books for the extraordinary ones to really shine out. In this post I am going to outline some benefits of reading that I have read (!) about in various sites like research journals, newspapers, novels, interviews etc. All in all I make a compelling case, except that citation is missing because I feel a little lazy for all that.
Educational benefits: Well, this is a no-brainer. Although multimedia and other forms of teaching are coming up, we still rely heavily on the written word to communicate educational information. In fact, it would be really hard to study subjects like Physics or English without the backing of written text. Since words are the symbols of human existence and communication, they may be replaced every now and then by multimedia, emoticons and icons, but they will never go away completely.
Cognitive Benefits: Reading expands the mind. Reading helps foster easy symbol recognition and processing. It also helps retention and memory capacity which can be very useful for academic activities and life after that. Reading encourages linkages across disciplines, and that is where innovation takes birth.
Emotional Benefits: Reading makes you more attuned to personal struggles and better able to understand that there is a range of emotions and one shouldn’t judge others quickly. Readers have the patience to let the story unfold.
Social Benefits: Reading gives you something to talk about, and may even make you a good storyteller. Even it that doesn’t happen, having exposure to reading helps you realize individual differences in people and are more likely to acknowledge and appreciate them and not being put in pigeon holes gives people the freedom to be, when they are with you.