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In Your Corner: The many benefits of reading

In Your Corner

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Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012 12:15 am

Reading is good for us. There is just no denying it; 901 million hits came up when I Googled it. I’ve searched through them, and will give you the best I’ve found. Reading:

1. Makes you use your brain, unlike TV. You’ll think more and become smarter;

2. Gives you access to all kinds of skills. Good courses from “how to fix a carburetor” to “how to meet a date” have books to go with them;

3. Improves your vocabulary. You can learn new words by getting the meaning from the words around the new one. Also, you can download the dictionary.com app onto your phone. When a new word pops up, type it in and it’s yours;

4. Improves concentration and memory. You have to remember what you’ve read for long periods, unlike magazines, social media sites or Internet posts. And like a muscle, it gets stronger the more you use it;

5. Builds self-esteem. The more you read, the more you know, the more you become an expert on something, and the better you feel about yourself. Confidence and smarts are two desirable traits in attracting others to you (but not conceit);

6. Improves discipline. You set aside time to eat to feed your body. Try setting aside time to feed your mind;

7. Improves creativity. The more ideas you read about, the broader the information base inside your mind. This helps you come up with new ideas, by using parts of all the data you’ve accumulated;

8. Gives you something to talk about that’s positive and interesting. Also, if a friend has a problem with something, you might have read something about it;

9. Improves your writing skills. The more good writing you read, the more likely you are to use the positive patterns in your own writing with improved spelling;

10. Is cheap entertainment. A library card is free. If you like to mark your books, you can go to thrift stores and find many books on all kinds of subjects. Have a book swap with a group of friends;

11. Could just change your life by teaching you a new way of doing something, or inspiring you to go somewhere, or putting a new idea in your mind that you never thought of before. Some governments and religions used to ban/burn books because they didn’t want the people to think for themselves;

12. Decreases boredom. That’s why magazines are in doctors’ offices;

13. Can help you go to sleep at night. Reading inspirational works before you go to sleep at night puts your mind in a good place before it rests. Playing video games, or watching TV sometimes stimulates your mind so that you can’t sleep;

14. Helps you solve a problem. Chances are that if you have a problem, you can find a book or at least a website with ideas of how to help solve it;

15. Reduces stress. Many websites listed this;

16. Can help you make more money. If you read and become an expert on something, you’ll get a better job. Also, you have to write out your job applications, and the better you write, the better you look over the other guy who doesn’t write well (see No. 9). I had one job interview and part of the application was a vocabulary test (No. 3);

17. Helps you learn more about what’s important to you, and can help you prioritize your life goals;

18. Can be a cheap vacation. We already discussed that the body and subconscious respond to what the mind imagines. You can read about wonderful places to explore, and imagine them in your mind. You’ll feel different;

19. Can help you get into college. Colleges require that students submit SAT test scores. The higher the score, the better your chance of getting into your dream college. The SATs are divided into Math and Verbal parts. Good readers make higher scores on the verbal subtest;

20. Is fun and entertaining. Where do you think that most movies come from? And the book is usually better than the movie, which is limited by time and money!

A student who reads just 20 minutes each day in a school year reads 1.8 million words! Imagine how many it would be if you read on the weekends and the breaks! Speaking of which, now is a good time to pick up a great book. Get together with your friends, and have a reading party. Pick a subject you all want to learn about and share info. Read a new recipe and make it! Try to fix your bicycle by reading how a bicycle works. Choose a country you’ve always wanted to visit, and read up on it. You get the idea. Now have fun!

• Hale ‘Opio Kaua‘i convened a support group of adults in our community to ‘step into the corner’ for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Email questions or concerns facing youth and families today to Annaleah Atkinson at aatkinson@haleopio.org.

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