Green River Star -

By Jason Grubb
Sweetwater County Library System 

Celebrate reading at the Sweetwater County Library

 


It is Reading is Fun Week.

Started in 1979 by Reading is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s oldest and largest children and families’ literacy nonprofit organization, this week is a time to recognize the pleasures found in books.

Last year the Pew Research Center published a research study on readers and reading habits in America. Pew researchers discovered that nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in 2013. In fact, the number of non-book readers has nearly tripled since 1978.

In 1978, Gallup found that 42 percent of adults had read 11 books or more in the past year. Today, Pew finds that just 28 percent of us each year hit that 11 books or more a year mark.

Think about your own reading habits. When is the last time you read a book? How many books do you usually read each year? Hopefully for most of you it is 11 or more, but if it is not allow me to share five reasons why you should read more:

1. Reading reduces stress. Research conducted in 2009 at Mindlab International at the University of Sussex showed reading was the most effective way to overcome stress, beating out listening to music, enjoying a cup of tea or even taking a walk. It took study participants only six minutes to relax once they started turning pages.

2. Reading keeps your brain sharp. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of keeping your mind active. One of the best ways to do this is through reading. Reading stimulates the mind and slows memory decline.

3. Reading helps you sleep better. Many sleep experts recommend establishing a regular de-stressing routine before bed to calm your mind and cue your body up for shut-eye. A bedtime story works for children and works for adults; however, no Stephen King. You don’t want any nightmares.

4. Reading increases empathy. Books make it easier to relate to others. Literary fiction, specifically, has the power to help its readers understand what others are thinking by reading other people’s emotions, according to research published in Science magazine.

5. Reading sets a positive example. Seventy five percent of parents wish their children would read more. We are always talking about reading to toddlers and preschoolers, but a study by Scholastic suggests reading out loud to kids through their elementary school years may inspire them to become frequent readers – meaning kids who read five to seven days per week for fun. If we want our children to read more we should read to them and they should see us reading.

And let’s not forget, reading is fun. It provides a temporary break from daily life while introducing us to new ideas and places. It is a quiet activity good at the start of the day or late at night before bed.

Most people I speak to that do not read tell me it is because they do not have time, but there has never been a time when it has been so easy to read. Books are available from the library in several different formats – print, audio, and electronic. The library has more than 52,000 print books available 58 hours a week when the library is open; more than 12,000 audio books, half of which are available when the library is open and the other half are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The library also provides access to over 10,000 electronic books or ebooks also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a library card from the library’s website. With so many options, take the time this year to read more than you did last year and this week specifically to discover or rediscover the fun of reading.

 

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