One of the most important habits to foster in any student is the habit of reading books. There are a lot of benefits of reading books, whether fictional or nonfictional, depending on their age and interest. Even though we have extremely immersive technology that can literally make you feel like you are transported to a new world, novels, Manga, comic books, and other forms of written and graphic novels have still not gone out of fashion, and nor have their popularity decreased. So why is it? Why is it that we still have reading as a pastime?
Why Books Will Never Go Out of Trend
There are a lot of reasons why books are still favored by the public even though we have other forms of entertainment like social media, theatre, dance, etc. A few of these are listed below:
The main thing that differentiates books from other forms of entertainment is the fact that reading books is a very personal experience. It is so personal, in fact, it is almost unique to the reader. Even though there are certain movies like the ones directed by David Lynch and Gasper Noe, almost all books have their own unique experience that it gives the reader.
Expanding on the previous point, each writer has a unique way of presenting something using words, metaphors, and other literary devices that are not often seen in other forms of entertainment. Each writer has their own style of presentation even if the story is literally the same. For example, Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle both wrote exceptionally well detective novels but their narrative style has a day-night difference. That type of versatility is often not seen in other forms of entertainment.
This is a very unique point when it comes to books. Unlike in the case of visual media, where world-building will look only one way, the world-building happens only in the mind of The reader according to what the writer has described. Since different people have different perceptions of reality, each person will have their very own world in their head when reading a book. The best example is the Harry Potter franchise. Before the movies were released, different people might have had different versions of Harry Potter in their heads while reading the book. However, after seeing Daniel Radcliffe in that role it is difficult to see someone else in that role which ultimately reduces the reader's creativity.
Benefits of Reading Books for Students
There are so many benefits of reading books that if a student does not, they can miss out on a lot of things. Here are a few reasons why reading books is good for you:
This is applicable to nonfiction books. One of the most obvious benefits of reading books is the acquisition of knowledge. Of course, the internet also has an almost unlimited source of information but the difference here is that most non-fiction books that have the agenda of imparting knowledge are written by subject matter experts who have done countless hours of research into writing the book. Compare this to a YouTube video that was created after a few hours of preparation. If the student is looking for in-depth knowledge about a particular subject, would it be better to read a book that has all the information properly structured in such a way that the information is presented chronologically in a comprehensible and articulate way, or watch a YouTube video that might have hardly taken a few hours of research using the same material?
Exercise for The Brain
As renowned English writer Joseph Addison once said, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Research has proven that reading books stimulates a complex network of signals and circuits in the brain that becomes stronger and more sophisticated as the reader reads more. Scans conducted on the brain while reading has shown that there is increased brain activity during reading and this effect can last for days afterward.
Concentration is one of the most important skills that children need to foster as students. The better a student can concentrate, the more information they can learn and retain. Reading books requires a huge amount of concentration and the more the person reads, the better they get at it.
This applies to both non-fiction as well as fiction books. While reading non-fiction books, in addition to the topic at hand, the reader also gets a chance to consume an enormous amount of information that is related to the subject they are reading about. When it comes to fiction books, there is a lot of information to be kept in mind, such as the main plot of the story, subplots, the main characters, side characters, and so on. All this new information creates new memories and each new memory creates synapses within the brain that also strengthens old ones.
This is one of the most unique benefits of reading books - it improves a person's ability to empathize. There is a lot of research that has been done on friction readers and it has shown that they tend to develop a better theory of mind which is the top that is used to describe our capacity of understanding others at a deep level. For example, experiencing the world through the eyes of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, for example, and exploring their inner lives and emotions can have a profound effect on the reader's psyche.
Improves Communication Skills and Vocabulary
One of the best ways to improve communication skills is by reading books. When students read books, they get a clear idea of how words are used and in what context which words make more sense, hence not only improving their vocabulary but also their understanding of the language, hence ultimately improving their communication skills as a whole.
How Teachers Can Help Foster A Healthy Reading Habit in Students
Teachers play a very important role in aiding students in the process of instilling an interest in reading them. Given below are a few ways they can do so effectively:
Teachers can start by starting a book club for students. Make students read one book of their choice. After they have read it thoroughly, ask them to write a review of the same or an analysis of the characters in the book (if it is fiction). The more they read, the better they will get better in both the reading as well as the writing departments. The teacher can also ask the students to create teams and socialize around the books that they are reading.
A fun activity students can do as a part of reading books is to enact the happenings of the book in the form of a play or skit. This way the students will not only be able to have fun but also get a better understanding of the characters and their emotions and improve their communication skills all at the same time. This would also help students who have not read the book want to read it as well. A runaway effect of such an activity is also that it promotes students who have an interest in the theatrical arts.
Share Your Experience
The teacher can tell the students about the time they used to read when they were their age and how that helped them shape their life and experiences. Students look up to their teachers for inspiration and making such a statement can definitely give them an incentive to start reading.
Bring in a Sense of Competition
This can work wonders - assign all the students one particular book to read and give them a reasonable deadline. After they have done reading, ask them to write a detailed character sketch of one of the characters and announce that there will be a winner for the activity. This will pique their interest in the whole activity and bring about a sense of competition that will push them to perform their best in writing as well.
These are just a few of the things teachers can do to foster good reading habits in their students. Teachers have the power to make or break a child, and the better the teacher, the better they will be in life. Reading books provides students with valuable life lessons that they will take with them into adulthood, so as a teacher, your responsibility to instill in them that interest in reading is enormous. The younger they start reading, the more holistic their entire school life can be.