Books With Benefits: Why Reading Is Healthy For You

By Katie Kieffer

Girl reading book in bed with tea.

Image credit: Joy of reading by Sebastien Lienard-Boisjoli on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Books are enchanting and relaxing places to retreat, dream and adventure—but they also nourish the mind and spirit. From success stories like Ronald Reagan to Dr. Ben Carson, today I’ll share two scientific reasons why reading books boosts your personal and career health…

You’re never too young—or too grown up—to benefit from reading. Today I’ll also explain why children benefit the most when mothers—and especially fathers—make reading a family affair. Here are two reasons to read more:

Read More, Write Better

From modern writers like J.K. Rowling and James Patterson to time-tried favorites like C. S. Lewis, great writers continue to give aspiring writers the same single word of advice: read. Even if you don’t care to write professionally—your personal and career lives will benefit if you improve your writing skills.

You are already a writer. You send texts. You write emails. You pen playful and personal notes in birthday cards. Read more and your writing will automatically improve on the page and the screen.

Research from Science Magazine shows that reading makes you more empathetic and many studies show that reading increases vocabulary and mental celerity. Developing more empathy and a faster mind while learning new words through reading will make your writing more relatable and convincing.

Keep in mind that your writing will improve faster if you prioritize challenging books—like Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment—over Garfield comic strips. That said, give your mind an occasional break. President Ronald Reagan made a point of reading the comics every morning. Reagan was known for his optimism and sense of humor, and perhaps reading the comics helped him stay sunny.

On the professional side, pay more attention to the emails you receive. Read carefully the electronic notes you receive from supervisors or colleagues who seem to have a flare for friendly formal writing. Take note of their finesse in typing nice but firm emails, and soon you’ll succeed at doing the same.

For those of you looking to “keep up” with younger colleagues who seem to have better memories or savvier technical skills, don’t neglect your reading. Just as working out can keep your body looking 10 years younger, you can increase your youthfulness by putting your brain on a reading regimen.

Whether you’re searching for words to write a Mother’s day card or land a business deal—words matter. Find 15 minutes a day to read—whether it’s the newspaper or a novel. Reading more will increase your odds of having the right words come to mind when you need them most.

The Family That Reads Together Grows Wise Together

Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson grew up in a single-parent household. His mother could not read well herself, but she compelled her son to check out library books and give her book reports. He went on to become a world-renowned neurosurgeon, best-selling author and contender for the most powerful political office in the world. Be like Dr. Carson’s mother and encourage your child to read!

Better yet, read with and to your child. “The evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t—the difference in their life chances—is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t,” philosopher Adam Swift tells ABC News.

Translation: you will give your child a bigger long-term advantage by reading to them than by sending them to a posh and pricy private school. Books are free at libraries. Even brand new, books remain a very affordable path to knowledge. No matter your budget, make reading a priority.

Harvard research shows that children gain the most when they are read to by their fathers. Some of my own best memories are of my father reading to me. I know I would never have become such an avid reader if not for both my father and mother setting an example and reading to me as a child. As I grew older, my father continually encouraged me to read on my own and “Use a dictionary!” to look up new words, which greatly expanded my vocabulary.

As Common Core and other government intrusions threaten to dub down America’s education system, be sure to prioritize reading in your family. Reading historically accurate and classical books together as a family could never be more relevant, beneficial or important.

This Christmas, if you have a child in your life over the age of 13, consider giving them their own copy of “Let Me Be Clear,” a book that will help them understand the truth about American history. Now through December 15, you can receive a special autographed copy. Contact us here to reserve yours. Happy reading!

Katie Kieffer reading "Let Me Be Clear." Photograph by Amie Kieffer. Copyright Katie Kieffer. All right reserved.

Katie Kieffer reading “Let Me Be Clear.” 😉 Photograph by Amie Kieffer. Copyright. All right reserved.

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  1. Ronny Howard says:

    I have never been big into reading, but I have been thinking lately that I ought to start. One of the nice things about reading, like you mention, is that you’re never too young -or too grown up- to benefit from reading. It is something that you can do your whole life not matter the age or physical state you may be in. I want to take it up as a hobby.

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