“There is no friend as loyal as a book”, said American author Ernest Hemingway. Books fire up your imagination, provide solace in times of grief, and open up your world.
The importance of a reading habit is intrinsically linked to professional success, as it opens up the mind to new experiences and provides new avenues of knowledge.
What Are Reading Skills?
Reading can make you a better writer and speaker. Reading skills can take you a step ahead and help you achieve your objectives by customizing the way you read. If you choose the appropriate reading skill, it will enhance the reading process and help you achieve your goal.
If you wish to read for pleasure, you can use the extensive reading skill. There is no expectation from the reader here and you can understand the meaning of words through context. For example, after reading the sentence, “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams”, you would be able to make out that the meaning of tread has something to do with walking.
Among the various reading skills, intensive reading is used most often. Here, you pay complete attention to every word and understand it fully. This method would take you much longer to read, but the comprehension of the text would be much higher.
Another reading skill, critical reading, helps analyze and question the assumptions in the text. It enables you to arrive at your own conclusions.
When you want to go over information quickly, you use skimming. For example, going through a book before purchasing it. Sometimes when you read, you only look for a specific portion. This skill is called scanning.
Choosing the appropriate way to read can help you get maximum benefit. For example, you should not skim through something that you need to prepare a report on. Similarly, you may not want to apply the extensive reading skill for a topic that you don’t find interesting.
The Importance Of Reading
Reading enhances our life in several ways:
Exercising your mind
One of the advantages of reading is that it engages various parts of your brain. When you read, you exercise your comprehension abilities and your analytical abilities. It fires up your imagination and stimulates the memory centers of your mind. It helps recall information as well as stabilize your emotions.
The importance of a reading habit is that it strengthens mental muscles. Reading is one of the best mental workouts there is. It’s been found that regular mental stimulation can slow down and possibly even prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Reading keeps the mind agile and young.
The role of reading skills in communication
Swedish-American writer Frans Johansson, in his book The Medici Effect, explains how creativity is intersectional. Ideas born in one medium and industry can be used as inspiration for others.
Reading and writing work in similar ways. Reading improves your writing style and flow. Writers learn to perfect their craft by taking inspiration from other writers. It’s impossible to be a good writer if you don’t read. Acclaimed author Stephen King is said to carry a book with him wherever he goes. He even reads while eating.
Another vital role of reading skills in communication is perfecting your oratory skills. Reading teaches you new words and perspectives. It helps strengthen language and sharpens sentence structure. It gives you a better command over the language. All of these are critical to being a good speaker.
Books work as portals to newer worlds. They have the potential to broaden your perspective, shape your attitude towards others and life, and open you up to new ways of thinking about everyday life.
One of the several advantages of reading is that it helps shape your identity. When you read, you decide who you want to become. You borrow bits from fictional characters you hold dear. For example, reading Sherlock Holmes can inspire you to become a detective or simply become more observant and analytical.
Becoming a well-read individual
Well-read individuals are held in awe. The words “well-read” are often used to denote a learned individual, full of wisdom.
Before the internet, books were the only sources of information and knowledge. Books contain the collective wisdom of our times. The more you read, the more you will learn about the world and the people in it. One of the great benefits of reading is that it helps you evolve your understanding of the world.
Keeping calm and entertained
Books can be a perfect escape from reality. They can cheer you up when you’re down, motivate you when you’re sad, and even keep you company when everybody else is busy.
One of the benefits of reading is that it relaxes your mind and body. You recharge your energy levels much faster when you read. Reading is the best way to end the day on a calm note. It may even help you fall asleep much faster.
Advantages Of Reading
The points above demonstrate the importance of maintaining a reading habit. Here are a few more benefits of reading regularly:
Improves your thinking skills and analytical abilities
There are times when you read a book and realize there are loopholes in the plot. You figure out who the murderer is before the book tells you. Somehow, your mind works faster when you read.
Reading sends your analytical and critical thinking abilities into hyperdrive. Each book becomes a puzzle your mind races to solve. With each book, it keeps improving its score.
These same abilities also apply to the real world. A reader’s mind is trained to notice tiny details. It puts the pieces together and can find connections. It is more adept at identifying patterns and solving puzzles. It learns how to synthesize knowledge better. In Harappa Education’s course on Reading Deeply, this aspect is covered in the module on Post Reading.
Helps you block out the noise
Short attention spans are the order of the day as lives become a constant stream of interruptions and activity.
You are expected to manage your WhatsApp messages and check your email and interact with your colleagues, all at the same time. Juggling such tasks reduces focus and lowers productivity.
But when you read a book, all your attention is focused. The importance of reading in our digital age cannot be overstated. It is perhaps the only way left to improve focus and attention.
Helps master a language
Reading is one of the best ways to learn a new language or gain mastery over a known one. Also, when you learn through stories, you learn much faster.
Learning about words through context is one of the most organic ways to understand their meaning and improve your vocabulary. This also helps gain knowledge about colloquial terms.
Connecting with others
Books can be great conversation starters and can help bond with new people.
Readers can have multiple stories to tell or topics to discuss, and can easily become the center of attention due to their knowledge. Their ability to objectively critique issues also makes them popular.
Keeps you grounded
Reading is a constant exercise in humility. The more you read, the more you realize how much you haven’t. That reminds you of how much further you still need to go. Each book reminds you of how limited your knowledge is.
Readers are friendlier and more accepting of others. They are always helpful as they know they too are still a work in progress.
Its benefits make reading a non-negotiable habit. A book can be many different things. It can be a guide when you are lost. It can be a companion when you feel alone.
While these benefits are remarkable, reading deeply requires expert guidance. You can learn all about in Harappa Education’s Reading Deeply course, which helps you improve your reading quotient. Sign up now to start your reading journey.