The importance of reading is irrefutable. From reducing stress, to building character and opening up a whole world of knowledge, leafing through a good book is one of the greatest pleasures known to man. There’s a pretty big number of interesting facts about reading and we skimmed through most of them to compile this amazing list for you.
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachersCharles W. Elliot
We couldn’t agree more.
13 facts about why reading is important
Learning all these interesting facts about reading can shed some light not only on the actual importance of reading but also on how and why we build our reading habits and knowledge the way we do.
Reading can have a major impact on our health, our personality, our ability to relate to others, the level of compassion we feel, our general knowledge, and last but definitely not least, on the way our society looks and works. Needless to say, reading is a huge part of our lives and it should be treated as such.
Here are the most amazing facts about reading and its importance for us as people and as a society.
1. Illiteracy is a constant problem
The sad part is that according to a UNESCO report from 2006 more than 132 million young people are and will remain for the rest of their lives unable to read. It’s a pretty tragic statistic because as you will see from the list of reading facts below, the benefits of reading are immense.
2. Reading reduces stress
We’ve all felt that ourselves. Reading a good book after a long and stressful day works wonders on our state of mind. Studies have actually shown that leafing through a book can be up to 600% more efficient in relieving stress than playing a video game and 300% more efficient than going for a walk. Now that’s a fun fact about reading.
According to a 2009 study conducted by the University of Sussex, only 6 minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. It is quicker and works better than many other stress-lowering methods like listening to music or drinking a cup of tea.
3. Reading is like cardio for your brain
Your brain is like a muscle. Joseph Addison said that “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”, and he couldn’t have said it better. Reading brings existing neural pathways to life and keeps your brain elastic and active.
4. Reading lowers blood pressure and heart rate
Reading a book has been found to reduce blood pressure and lower the heart rate. By helping your mind relax, it helps your body relax as well.
5. Reading delays the onset of age-related mental issues
It has been shown that reading books and engaging in mentally challenging activities, like playing puzzle games, helps slow down the cognitive decline in old age. That results in lower chances of Alzheimer’s disease or other age-related neurodegenerative diseases for people who read regularly. A study from the University of California shows that people with a high literacy level are 4 to 5 times less likely to suffer mental declines with old age.
6. Reading can help depression and anxiety
Reading can help alleviate depression. Especially reading fiction, since it can help people temporarily escape their own world and immerse themselves in the adventures of the characters they read about. Not only that, but studies have also shown that reading can have a positive effect on anxiety symptoms as well.
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7. Reading can help us sleep better
We all know how important sleep is for our health. Reading before going to bed has been shown to help people fall asleep easier and quicker. Sleep readiness is something many of us struggle with, especially those of us who spend a lot of time looking at our phones before going to bed. Leafing through a book before going to bed instead of looking at our phones can make a huge difference.
8. Reading is a lot easier than you think
We all know that reading is important, but many people still see it as a chore rather than a pleasant activity. The good news is that even if you’re one of those people who see reading as a chore, you can still achieve a lot, with very little effort.
By reading just 20 minutes per day, you will actually end up reading 1.8 Million words in one year. With an average of 500 words per page, that means you would read 3,600 pages per year. That’s 12 books with 300 pages each. If you make reading a habit, it will definitely pay off in the long run, with minimal effort.
On top of this, did you know that nowadays you can actually rely on technology to help you read more?
9. Reading makes you an overall better person
One of the most interesting facts about reading books is how much it can actually change a person. Reading is not only a great hobby, it is an amazing self-development tool.
Making a habit out of leafing through a book every now and then can actually make you a much better person.
10. By reading more, you become smarter
It’s a fact. A study conducted by the University of Edinburgh and King’s College London definitely concluded that there is a direct link between reading ability and IQ.
The researchers did 5 separate tests on almost 1900 pairs of twins between the ages of 7 and 16 and they found the twin with a higher reading ability have better verbal and nonverbal cognitive abilities.
11. Reading makes you a happier person
Since a good book can work wonders in alleviating stress and depression, it’s pretty obvious why people who read more are more self-confident and happy.
By surveying more than 4,000 adults, the University of Liverpool concluded that readers are happier, less stressed, cope better with challenges, and have more close friends than non-readers. Isn’t that a fun fact about reading? (pun by all means intended)
12. People who read, volunteer, and donate more
Studies have shown that there is a link between reading and charity. Among the people who volunteer regularly, 42% self-identified as regular readers.
Similarly, 82% of the people who usually donate either money or goods of any kind, are readers as well.
While there’s unlikely to be a direct causality link between reading and volunteering or donating, the numbers should tell you something nevertheless. An educated person who reads constantly has a better understanding of the needs of those around them, greater empathy, and a better sense of giving back to the community.
13. People who read more, live longer
Pretty good motivation if you ask me. A study from Yale University concluded, after studying over 3500 people over the age of 50, that participants who read at least 30 minutes per day, lived on average 23 months longer than non-readers. 30 minutes of reading per day for living almost 2 years longer? That sounds like a great deal.
Another interesting fact about reading we got from this survey was that there’s actually a difference even between those who read newspapers and magazines and those who read fiction books. Book readers lived longer than those who preferred newspapers and magazines too.
Researchers believe it’s the fact that reading books lead to a different level of cognitive engagement by learning new words, and understanding plot points, and twists that resulted in this difference. Basically, re-building the fictional universe we read about in a book, helps our brain remain healthy.
11 Amazing reading facts for kids
There are a lot of interesting facts about reading books especially when it comes to kids. Since they are the generation we rely on for a better future, it’s understandable that we are putting a lot of focus on them and ways to create amazing human beings out of them.
Tens, or maybe even hundreds of studies have been conducted to see the influence reading has on a developing mind. Here are a couple of amazing reading facts for kids.
1. Encouraging children to read may be the key to a better future
As you would probably imagine, reading has a major impact on our development from a very young age. Our mental and emotional development can be fast-tracked through reading, and there is a lot for our young ones to gain if we teach them to love reading from a young age.
2. Simply owning books can change our children’s lives
Children who have a library with at least 20 books of their own have been found to achieve up to 3 more years of schooling than kids who don’t have reading material at home.
3. A bookshelf’s impact on education
Similarly, a link has been found between classroom libraries and reading. Children who study in classrooms with libraries end up reading 50% more than those who study in classrooms without libraries.
4. Reading can teach our kids enormous amounts of information
Children can learn between 4,000 and 12,000 new words through book reading in a single year. Encouraging kids to read more can make a huge difference for them as adults.
5. Reading can get our children right “up there”
Reading 1 million words per year (we did the math, that means around 3,000 words per day) will get a child straight to the top 2% on standardized reading tests.
6. Reading can make our society safer
Scientists in America have shown that children who have learned to read before the age of 8 are less likely to end up in prison later in life, and also have lower chances of starting to use drugs. Moreover, scientists have argued that children who have basic literacy skills before starting school are 3 to 4 times less likely to drop out of school.
7. Reading problems can turn into bigger problems
Students who don’t manage to learn how to read by 3rd grade are four times more likely to not graduate from high school.
8. Reading to your infant child is important
Toddlers who are being read to have been shown to be almost one year ahead in mental development compared to children of the same age who haven’t. Something to keep in mind next time you’re deciding on an activity for you and your child.
9. Reading one children’s book per day
Another fun fact about reading to children is that if you would read 1 children’s book per day to your toddler, he or she would have “read” 1825 books by the age of 5.
10. 1 million words can make a huge difference
Moreover, a 2019 study shows that children who are read to in the 5 years leading up to kindergarten are being exposed to over 1 million more words than children who are not.
11. Geniuses are fast readers
While no direct link of causality has been found between the speed of reading and a high IQ, it can’t be a coincidence that abnormally intelligent people also have well above the average reading speeds.
A regular person can read between 200 and 300 words per minute. Depending on the practice and interest in the subject, that number can go up to 500 words per minute (without sacrificing comprehension).
Well, what you probably didn’t know is that some remarkable people also had remarkable reading speeds. Napoleon for example was able to read at the absolutely astonishing rate of 2000 words per minute. Stories about Honore de Balzac said that he was able to finish a small novel in under half an hour.
It can’t be a coincidence that some of the greatest minds in history were also speed-readers, can it?
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3 Cool facts about reading
Now that we have an idea about all the important reading facts that make it such an important activity in our day-to-day lives and how it can literally change everything about the way we coexist and how our society works, let’s have a look at a couple of facts that are more interesting than important.
1. Speed reading world record
The speed reading world record dates back to 1990. Howard Berg has been recognized by the Guinness World Record Book as the fastest reader in the world, a title he still holds to this day.
While it may seem impossible to most of us, his record was 25,000 words read per minute. Many have questioned the claim, as there was no real experiment done to check if this was actually true.
And on top of the fact that at this speed, comprehension would probably be close to zero, many have questioned the claims based on more solid facts. How do you read and turn the pages that fast without tearing them up?
Even though it is unlikely that we will ever find out the whole truth, it’s important to remember that speed reading is a powerful tool and can help us tremendously in saving time, as long as we don’t sacrifice comprehension for speed.
2. While reading, our eyes can move in different directions
It sounds like a health condition, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not strabismus. It’s a completely normal thing in healthy adults with 20-20 vision.
While reading, our eyes usually target different letters at once. Actually, that happens almost 50% of the time we spend reading. It’s a mechanism that helps us read and understand faster, which starts developing as soon as we start learning to read.
Our bodies are truly amazing and the way they adapt to our needs tells the story of thousands of years of evolution. Even if it’s through such small curiosities.
3. Your phone and your books are no longer enemies
In the past decades, the time people have been spending reading has decreased considerably and is in a constant decline.
The U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics released a survey in 2020 which states that as of 2019, the average time spent reading for Americans aged 15-44 is of 10 minutes or less per day.
On the other hand, another statistic says that Americans spent almost 3 hours per day using their phones in 2019.
Even though these statistics are worrying, some good news may be coming our way. “Reading more” has been a common New Year’s resolution and a goal for many people, tech companies have come into play.
Several mobile apps have been developed in recent years with the sole purpose of helping you chieve your goals of reading more and faster.
Basmo, for example, is a pretty awesome tool, which can give your reading experience an extra boost. There are many aspects of your reading habits that Basmo can help you improve.
Here are some of the most important:
Basmo helps you create healthy reading habits
Something as simple as a reading schedule that can be set in just a couple of taps within the app can have a huge impact on your reading habits. Not only do you have all the freedom to choose the days and time of day to set your reading sessions, but you will also receive reminders about each of them.
Basmo lets you set your own personal goals
Knowing your ultimate goal is a great way of achieving more day after day. That is why Basmo allows you to either set a yearly goal for the number of books you want to read or gives you the option to micro-manage your reading habits with daily goals for the time spent reading.
Basmo helps you organize your reading
Having a TBR list is important, everyone knows this by now. Basmo allows you to create countless personalized reading lists, giving you the option to even create separate lists by genre. You can easily order your books based on their status (finished, unfinished, to be read), and creating and editing your lists can easily be done in just a couple of taps.
Basmo helps you gamify your reading
If you’re anything like us, you love seeing stats about everything you do. Basmo analyzes your reading habits and several interesting factors, providing you with insightful statistics about your reading speed, frequency of reading sessions, and even the total amount of time spend reading.
Basmo helps you read mindfully
Being aware of your emotions while reading is more important than you think. That is why Basmo allows you to not only track your reading but also your emotions while reading. After each reading session, the app prompts you to choose an emoji to describe your emotional state and records your selection, providing you a report of the way your emotions changed within the past week. On top of this, the app offers a journaling feature, where you can keep a reading journal to go even more in-depth about your emotions, thoughts, and feelings about the reading you’re doing.
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So, here it is. That’s our list of the most interesting facts about reading. Feel free to test some of them yourselves using Basmo, the best app for avid readers. We hope we managed to satisfy your curiosity in regards to the weirdest, most interesting and maybe fun facts about reading and you will remember some of them the next time you’re curled up under a blanket with a good book.