why reading is good for uswhy reading is good for us

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Reading is R.E.A.L. learning. Reading, Expands, All Learning. It forces us to use thinking to decode unfamiliar words. It broadens our horizons by exposing us to other cultures, other ideas, and other perspectives. It can make us aware of our own strengths, flaws, and weaknesses. It can help us learn greater compassion for others, and it can help us combat our own ignorance.

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jcvickery | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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I tend to agree most with lmetcalf here. I suspect that the greatest benefit of reading is that is requires us to focus and to use our brain in ways that passively watching television does not. (I believe that we certainly can and sometimes do watch films or TV shows with a focused, active brain, but most often we probably do not.)

I tend to be a little more skeptical toward the notion that we can learn invaluable life lessons through reading in a way that is equal to or better than learning those same lessons through lived experience. One of my favorite English professors told me once that, as a young woman, she had thought that she had learned everything there was to know about women, men, and relationships by reading everything written by Jane Austen. Her own life experiences proved to be very different from those shown in the novels, of course!

As an avid reader, I suspect that I don't learn much of anything by just reading (I still have to burn my hands every now and then!). At the same time, though, I'm also often able to make meaningful connections between what I've read and what I've experienced in my life. For me, the real benefit of reading is that readers are required to be mentally active and to make sense of things in books and -- hopefully -- by extension. in their own lives.

  I wholeheartedly agree in the ultimate power of direct experience.  My idea is that literature can make the learning richer because it gives a point of reference by which we can gage our learning.  Reading can provide points on a compass so to speak.

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James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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I tend to agree most with lmetcalf here. I suspect that the greatest benefit of reading is that is requires us to focus and to use our brain in ways that passively watching television does not. (I believe that we certainly can and sometimes do watch films or TV shows with a focused, active brain, but most often we probably do not.)

I tend to be a little more skeptical toward the notion that we can learn invaluable life lessons through reading in a way that is equal to or better than learning those same lessons through lived experience. One of my favorite English professors told me once that, as a young woman, she had thought that she had learned everything there was to know about women, men, and relationships by reading everything written by Jane Austen. Her own life experiences proved to be very different from those shown in the novels, of course!

As an avid reader, I suspect that I don't learn much of anything by just reading (I still have to burn my hands every now and then!). At the same time, though, I'm also often able to make meaningful connections between what I've read and what I've experienced in my life. For me, the real benefit of reading is that readers are required to be mentally active and to make sense of things in books and -- hopefully -- by extension. in their own lives.

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jcvickery | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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I always answer my students who ask this question by telling them a story about my son when he was a newborn.  We were spending Thanksgiving with my family and my son was at the age when he was beginning to walk so there was a great deal of crawling and pushing/climbing against objects in order to stand.  At one point in the day, when we were all standing in the kitchen, my son happened to start crying for what appeared to be no reason.  Then I noticed that his hands were placed flat on the glass door of the oven where our turkey was roasting.  After moderately burned hands, my son never touched the oven glass again without first making sure that no cooking was underway.  Literature allows us to learn without burning our hands.  As teachers, our job is to assist the student through the process of evaluating characters and their actions in an effort to decide what is and is not acceptable in terms of their own thoughts and actions.  Books are a reader's means to trying ideas on for size in the process of ascertaing what fits as we choose our "adult" clothing.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Where do you start with a topic like this?  My first thought is that it engages the mind in thinking about something seriously and making meaning from the words on the page.  That meaning can be the plot of a novel, the thesis of an op-ed piece in the newspaper, or a new recipe for dinner.  Anything that makes the brain work keeps us sharp and smarter!

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Lots of reasons.

Maybe the most important is that it allows us to expand our horizons.  When you read, you learn about new things.  You can learn a lot by reading about some character whose life is different than yours.  Reading about their life can help you understand the point of view of people who are different than you.  This makes you a more understanding person.

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giorgiana1976 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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If you want to be smarter and smarter, read on!

In other words, reading is helping you to develop your mental capacity, giving you a lot of new ideas and making you to understand the world better.

Of course, a good reason to start reading a book is a well established purpose but you can see the action of reading as a fine trip in time; a trip that will reveal you new places,customs and ideas from different cultures of the world.

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