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Why is Reading Important for Your Growth?

Why Read copy

Want to escape without traveling anywhere? Looking to learn about a specific subject? Interested in knowing what it was like to live in the past? Reading can provide all of this and more for you! For anyone who wonders, “why is reading important?” we’re here to share the many reasons.

Yet, there are also some people who read because they are told they must for school. If you fit into that last categorization, then it may be useful to understand the many benefits of reading, which we will uncover here. We’ll also share why people read and what makes it so important.

Now all you have to do is….keep reading!

it is essential reading

The Many Benefits of Reading

Beyond reading, because you have to, the importance of reading cannot go unnoticed. Reading is of great value because it provides the means by which you get to:

Strengthens Brain Activity

Reading gets your mind working across different areas. For starters, it involves comprehension to process the words you read. Beyond that, you can use your analytical abilities, stimulate memories, and even broaden your imagination by reading words off a page.

Reading is a neurobiological process that works out your brain muscles. As you do so, you can help to slow down cognitive decline and even decrease the rate at which memory fades. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have even found that reading reduces the level of beta-amyloid, which is a protein in the brain that is connected to Alzheimer’s. Who knew that reading could have physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits?

Boosts communication skills

Both reading and writing work to improve one’s communication skills. That’s why if you’re looking to become a better writer, many of the suggestions that you come across will include reading more. Reading can open your eyes, literally and figuratively, to new words. Try this next time you read: if you come across any words you read that you don’t know, take a moment to look them up and write them down. Then, remember to use your new words in your speech so you don’t forget them!

Helps Self-Exploration

Books can be both an escape and an adventure. When you are reading, you have the opportunity to think about things in new ways, learn about cultures, events, and people you may have never otherwise heard of, and can adopt methods of thinking that help to reshape or enhance your identity. For example, you might read a mystery novel and learn that you have a knack and interest in solving cases and paying attention to clues.

Makes One Intellectually Sound

When you read a lot, you undoubtedly learn a lot. The more you read, you can make it to the level of being considered “well-read.” This tends to mean that you know a little (or a lot) about a lot. Having a diverse set of knowledge will make you a more engaging conversationalist and can empower you to speak to more people from different backgrounds and experiences because you can connect based on shared information. Some people may argue that “ignorance is bliss,” but the truth is “knowledge is power.” And, the more you read, the more you get to know! That’s why you can bet that any educational degree you choose to obtain will involve some forms of reading (yes, even math and computer science) .

It’s no wonder why you may see people reading by the pool, on the beach, or even on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Reading is a form of entertainment that can take you to fictional worlds or past points in time.

Imparts Good Values

Reading can teach values. Whether you read from a religious text or secular text, you can learn and teach the difference between right and wrong and explore various cultural perspectives and ways of life.

Enhances creativity

Reading has the potential to boost your levels of creativity. Whether you read about a specific craft or skill to boost it or you are reading randomly for fun, the words could spark new ideas or images in your mind. You may also start to find connections between seemingly disparate things, which can make for even more creative outputs and expressions.

Lowers Stress

If you don’t think that strengthening your brain is enough of a benefit, there’s even more good news. Reading has also been proven to lower stress as it increases relaxation. When the brain is fully focused on a single task, like reading, the reader gets to benefit from meditative qualities that reduce stress levels. 

it is essential reading

A Look at the Most Popular Books

As we celebrate World Book Day, take a look at some of the most popular books of all time. These should give you an idea of what book to pick up next time you’re at a library, in a bookstore, or ordering your next read online.

  • The Harry Potter Series
  • The Little Prince
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • The Da Vinci Code 
  • The Alchemist 

The Gift of Reading

Whether you had to work hard to learn to read or it came naturally, reading can be considered both a gift and a privilege. In fact, we can even bet that you read something every single day ( this blog, for instance), even if it’s not a book. From text messages to signs, emails to business documents, and everything in between, it’s hard to escape the need to read.

Reading opens up doors to new worlds, provides entertainment, boosts the imagination, and has positive neurological and psychological benefits. So, if anyone ever asks or you stop to think, “why is reading important” you’re now well-read on the subject to provide a detailed response and share your own purpose of reading!

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10 Benefits of Reading Books: Why You Should Read Every Day

9 Benefits of Reading Books: Enhance Your Life Daily (2024)

There are so many benefits to reading books.

But let's face it: It can be challenging to motivate ourselves to read a 382-page book when we can watch the movie, listen to the audiobook, or watch a YouTube video summary instead.

Am I right?

However, if most of your daily reading consists of social media posts, text messages, and news headlines, you're missing out.

So, what are the benefits of reading books? 

If you're interested in reading more books but need some motivation , this article's for you. After all, when you understand the importance of reading books, you're more likely to do it.

it is essential reading

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it is essential reading

What Are the Benefits of Reading Books?

Here are 10 benefits of reading that illustrate the importance of reading books. When you read every day you:

  • Gain valuable knowledge
  • Exercise your brain
  • Improve your focus
  • Improve your memory
  • Enjoy entertainment
  • Improve your ability to empathize
  • Improve your communication skills
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve your mental health
  • Live longer

Now, let's dive a little deeper to better understand the advantages of reading.

1. Gain Valuable Knowledge

One of the most obvious benefits of reading every day is learning. 

And unlike a YouTube video or podcast, books provide access to in-depth knowledge. In other words, if you want to become more productive , which do you think you'll learn more from:

  • A book by someone who's studied productivity for 20 years,
  • Or a 10-minute YouTube video by someone interested in the topic? 

Which do you think you'll absorb more from? Which do you think is more likely to help change your habits ? Books, of course!

Going beyond the surface of a subject is essential to success, too. This is probably why the author Roald Dahl once said, "If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books."

What Are the Benefits of Reading Books: Roald Dahl Quote

Plus, you can learn literally anything from books. For example, whenever anybody asks Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, how he learned to build rockets, he says , "I read books."

So, what do you want to learn?

Perhaps you want to learn how to code, paint, or start a successful business ? Maybe you want to learn how to stop procrastinating ? Or perhaps you want to figure out how to change your life completely ?

Whatever it is, reading can help.

2. Exercise Your Brain

Why is reading important? As the 17th century English writer Joseph Addison once wrote , "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."

So, what does reading do to your brain?

Research has confirmed that reading stimulates a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. Plus, as you improve your reading ability, these networks become stronger and more sophisticated.

In another study , researchers measured how reading a novel affects our brains. The study's participants read the novel "Pompeii" by Robert Harris, and as tension in the story developed, more areas of the brain were activated.

Want to know the best part?

The scans showed that brain connectivity increased while reading and for days afterward, demonstrating the enormous benefits of reading books every day.

Bottom line, our brains have a "use it or lose it" policy, just like our muscles. In other words, if we don't exercise our minds regularly, our cognitive abilities may decline . However, when we read every day, we can keep them strong and healthy.

3. Improve Your Focus

Being able to concentrate and focus for long periods is essential to our success and wellbeing. Cal Newport, the author of Deep Work, writes :

"To remain valuable in our economy … you must master the art of quickly learning complicated things. This task requires deep work."

What is "deep work"? Newport explains :

"Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship."

Newport also argues that this skill is becoming increasingly rare due to constant multitasking, notifications, and social media apps. A study by Microsoft would agree, finding that people generally lose attention after just eight seconds.

Thankfully, one of the key benefits of reading is that it helps you practice concentrating on just one thing at a time.

For example, a novel requires all of your attention for it to whisk you away to another world. And if you want to learn from a non-fiction book, it requires you to be fully present and engaged.

In short, if you want to succeed, you need to focus. And if you want to focus more , you can practice by reading books.

4. Improve Your Memory

Are you always forgetting things? Do you have a bunch of to-do lists , but you can't quite remember what's on them? Fear not – one of the advantages of reading books is that it can improve your memory.

When you read a non-fiction book, you also consume an enormous amount of information on the subject you're reading about.

Similarly, whenever you read a novel, you have to remember tons of information about the story's plot and subplots, the characters and their relationships, and the environment in which the story takes place.

That's a lot of information!

All of this new information creates new memories. And every new memory creates synapses or strengthens old ones.

The upshot? Reading every day can improve your memory – it can help you learn how to store new information and recall memories more effectively.

5. Enjoy Entertainment

Books provide some of the most engaging entertainment on the planet. As the author Stephen King said, "Books are a uniquely portable magic."

What Are the Benefits of Reading Books: Stephen King Quote

Have you ever read a book that you couldn't put down? 

Do you remember feeling so invested in the story or what you were learning that you would keep reading even when you needed to use the bathroom or were hungry? 

To replicate that feeling, or to experience it for the first time, all you need to do is find the right books to read.

There are millions of incredible books out there, and there's a perfect reading genre for everyone – from fantasy novels and classical literature to self-help guides and business books.

Reading is something you can enjoy safely at home. And books don't cost that much – especially with services like your local library and Amazon's Kindle Unlimited ($9.99 per month for unlimited ebooks).

So, step away from your smartphone each day, open the pages of a book, and dive in.

6. Improve Your Ability to Empathize

Another one of the benefits of reading books is that they can improve our ability to empathize with others. And empathy has many benefits – it can reduce stress , improve our relationships, and inform our moral compasses.

Research has shown that long-term fiction readers tend to develop a better "theory of mind" – the term used to describe our capacity for empathy and ability to understand others.

Another study found that when we read stories that explore characters' inner lives and emotions, our ability to understand others' feelings and views improves.

For example, experiencing the world through the eyes of Harry Potter or Jane Eyre can help us learn to see the world from the perspectives of our families, friends, and coworkers.

The author John Green said it best: "Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood."

What Are the Benefits of Reading Books: John Green Quote

7. Improve Your Communication Skills

The ability to communicate effectively is a vital life skill. 

In fact, one study discovered that 69% of employers are looking to hire people with "soft" skills, such as effective communication.

The good news? One of the key benefits of reading is that it helps us to communicate better.

How? Reading every day can improve our communication skills in a few ways. For example, reading can influence your writing and increase your vocabulary.

When we read well-written work, we naturally observe its writing style, cadence, and composition. These characteristics inevitably seep into our writing, in the same way that musicians are influenced by each other.

What's more, studies show that those who read regularly tend to develop large vocabularies.

Finally, don't forget that reading also helps improve our communication skills by increasing our ability to empathize and understand others.

Long story short? Read more, communicate better, and improve your life!

8. Reduce Stress

Another one of the effects of reading is that it can reduce stress .

Research has proven that just 30 minutes of reading can lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of psychological distress. 

Another study discovered that reading is the best way to reduce stress – compared to taking a walk, having a cup of tea or coffee, and playing video games. The study found that even six minutes of reading can be enough to reduce stress levels by more than two-thirds.

"Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation," said Dr. David Lewis, the cognitive neuropsychologist who conducted the study.

What Are the Benefits of Reading Books: Dr. David Lewis Quote

So, the next time you're feeling stressed, remember the benefits of reading for pleasure and let the tension melt away.

9. Improve Your Mental Health

The pros of reading also extend to mental health.

Researchers studied the effects of self-help books and found that many have a measurable impact on depression or other mood disorders.

As a result, the UK's National Health Service (NHS) began a book prescription program called Reading Well . This service prescribes self-help books curated by medical experts for certain conditions.

The act of using books as therapy is called "bibliotherapy."

So, if you're struggling – and despite what life looks like on Instagram, we all struggle from time to time – consider reading one of the books on the NHS's curated list , which are proven to help ease symptoms.

10. Live Longer

This last effect of reading is perhaps one of the most exciting and interesting: It turns out that the health benefits of reading can help us live longer.

A 12-year study on health and retirement found that those who read books survived around two years longer than those who didn't read books or read magazines and other forms of media. Additionally, those who read for 30 minutes a day (3.5 hours per week) were 23% more likely to outlive those who didn't read often.

Pretty cool, right?

As noted above, reading is a great way to exercise our brains to make us smarter and sharper. However, the knock-on effect of this is that reading also helps prevent age-related cognitive decline.

One study found that older adults who regularly read or play mentally challenging games like chess are two and a half times less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.

On the other hand, people who don't exercise their grey matter stand a chance of losing brain power, says the study's primary author, Dr. Robert Freidland.

No wonder the US’s National Institute on Aging recommends champions the health benefits of reading daily.

All in all, when you read every day, you're more likely to retain your mental abilities and live longer!

What Should I Read? 4 Top Book Lists

Now that you understand the importance of reading books and why you should read every day, what should you read? To help you find the perfect book, here are four lists of curated books to check out:

  • Must-Read Books of All Time: 40 Books Everyone Should Read
  • The 12 Best Books for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business
  • 20 Business Books That'll Change Your Life
  • 15 Investment Books That'll Boost Your Financial IQ

Summary: Why is Reading Important?

Why is reading good for you? Reading is good for you because it improves your focus, memory, empathy, and communication skills. It can reduce stress, improve your mental health, and help you live longer. Reading also allows you to learn new things to help you succeed in your work and relationships. 

The best part? You can get all these benefits of reading books while enjoying some fantastic entertainment.

Do you read every day? What are you reading right now? Let us know in the comments below!

Want to Learn More?

  • How to Better Use What You Read in Books
  • Speed Reading: How to Read Faster Before You Go to Sleep Tonight
  • How to Start a Productive Morning Routine for Success (Proven Method)
  • Financial Security: Everything You Need to Know (and Do)

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The Lifelong Benefits of Reading: How Books Can Transform Your Life

Discover the transformative power of books and unlock a world of lifelong benefits through reading.

In today’s fast-paced digital age, where information is readily available at our fingertips, it’s easy to overlook the profound impact that reading can have on our lives. But beneath the surface lies a treasure trove of wisdom, knowledge, and personal growth waiting to be unraveled.

From broadening our horizons and enhancing our empathy to improving our cognitive abilities and reducing stress, books have the remarkable ability to shape and transform us. In this article, we will delve into the countless ways in which reading can enrich our lives, offering a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

So, grab a cup of tea, find a cozy nook, and embark on a journey that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the power of the written word. Whether you’re a devoted bookworm or someone who has yet to discover the joys of reading, prepare to be inspired by the lifelong benefits that await you on this literary adventure.

The Power of Reading

Reading is more than just a pleasurable pastime; it is a gateway to personal growth and transformation. When we dive into a compelling story or immerse ourselves in a thought-provoking non-fiction book, we open ourselves up to new ideas and perspectives. Books have the power to challenge our preconceived notions and expand our understanding of the world.

Reading also enhances our cognitive abilities. It improves our vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking skills. As we engage with the written word, our brains are stimulated, creating new neural connections and improving our overall mental agility.

But reading is not just about intellectual growth. It has a profound impact on our emotional well-being as well. Whether it’s losing ourselves in a fictional world or finding solace in a self-help book, reading provides an escape from the pressures of everyday life. It allows us to explore our own emotions and connect with the experiences of others, fostering empathy and compassion.

Mental Benefits of Reading

The mental benefits of reading are manifold. Research has shown that reading regularly can improve our memory and concentration. When we read, we are required to focus our attention and retain information, exercising our brain in the process. This mental workout not only improves our ability to recall information but also enhances our concentration and attention span in other areas of life.

Furthermore, reading has been linked to a reduced risk of cognitive decline and dementia. By regularly engaging our brains through reading, we can help keep our minds sharp and agile as we age. It’s like a workout for the brain, keeping it in top shape and staving off the effects of aging.

In addition to improving memory and cognitive function, reading can also enhance our problem-solving skills. As we encounter different scenarios and challenges in books, we are exposed to various ways of thinking and problem-solving. This exposure broadens our mental toolkit, allowing us to approach real-life problems with a fresh perspective and a wider range of strategies.

Emotional Benefits of Reading

Reading has a profound impact on our emotional well-being. It provides an escape from the stresses of everyday life, allowing us to immerse ourselves in different worlds and experiences. Whether we’re laughing out loud at a humorous novel or shedding tears over a heart-wrenching story, books evoke a wide range of emotions that allow us to connect with our own feelings.

Moreover, reading can increase our empathy and understanding of others. When we read about characters from different backgrounds or with different perspectives, we gain insight into their lives and experiences. This exposure to diverse narratives helps us develop a broader worldview and fosters empathy towards others, ultimately making us more compassionate individuals.

Reading can also be therapeutic. It can provide solace during difficult times and offer a sense of comfort and understanding when we feel alone. Books have the power to validate our emotions and provide us with the tools to navigate challenging situations. They can serve as a form of self-help, guiding us towards personal growth and healing.

Physical Benefits of Reading

While reading is often associated with mental and emotional benefits, it also has positive effects on our physical well-being. One of the most notable physical benefits is stress reduction. Reading has been shown to lower heart rate and reduce stress levels, promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. By immersing ourselves in a good book, we can escape from the demands of daily life and find respite from the pressures that weigh us down.

Furthermore, reading can improve sleep quality. Engaging in a quiet activity like reading before bed can help signal to our bodies that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. By creating a bedtime routine that includes reading, we can promote better sleep hygiene and ensure a more restful night’s sleep.

Additionally, reading can have a positive impact on our overall brain health. Studies have shown that reading can improve brain connectivity and increase neural activity. This stimulation of the brain can help ward off cognitive decline and improve cognitive function, leading to better overall brain health.

Social Benefits of Reading

Reading is often seen as a solitary activity, but it can also have social benefits. When we read a book, it opens up opportunities for conversation and connection with others. Book clubs, discussion groups, and literary events provide spaces for like-minded individuals to come together and share their thoughts and experiences.

Reading can also foster a sense of community. When we engage with a popular book or series, we become part of a larger cultural conversation. We can connect with others who have shared similar reading experiences and engage in discussions about the themes and ideas presented in the books. This shared connection can create a sense of belonging and camaraderie.

Furthermore, reading can improve our communication skills. As we encounter different writing styles and perspectives in books, we develop a greater appreciation for language and storytelling. This exposure to diverse narratives can enhance our own writing and communication abilities, allowing us to express ourselves more effectively and connect with others on a deeper level.

The Impact of Reading on Personal Growth and Development

Reading is a powerful tool for personal growth and development. It provides us with a wealth of knowledge and insights that can help us navigate the complexities of life. Whether we’re seeking advice on relationships , career guidance, or personal development, books offer a vast array of resources and perspectives to draw from.

One of the key ways in which reading promotes personal growth is by expanding our knowledge and perspective. By exposing ourselves to different ideas, cultures, and experiences through books, we broaden our understanding of the world and challenge our own beliefs and assumptions. This expansion of knowledge can lead to personal transformation and a greater sense of empathy and understanding towards others.

Furthermore, reading enhances our creativity and imagination. When we read, we are transported to different worlds and introduced to unique characters and situations. This exposure to new ideas and perspectives stimulates our own creativity and imagination, allowing us to think outside the box and approach problems with a fresh perspective.

Reading also offers us the opportunity for introspection and self-reflection. Through the experiences of characters in books, we can gain insight into our own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. This self-awareness can lead to personal growth and self-improvement as we identify areas for development and work towards becoming the best version of ourselves.

How Reading Can Improve Creativity and Imagination

Reading is a wellspring of inspiration for creativity and imagination. When we engage with books, we are exposed to different writing styles, storytelling techniques, and imaginative worlds. This exposure helps us think creatively and generate new ideas in various aspects of our lives.

By immersing ourselves in the worlds created by authors, we can expand our own imagination. Books allow us to visualize characters, settings, and events, fostering our ability to create vivid mental images. This enhanced imagination can be beneficial in many areas, such as problem-solving, brainstorming, and artistic endeavors.

Moreover, reading exposes us to different perspectives and ways of thinking, which can fuel our creative thinking. By encountering diverse narratives and exploring different points of view, we challenge our own assumptions and expand our thinking beyond conventional boundaries. This exposure to new ideas can inspire us to approach problems and projects in innovative ways.

Reading can also help us develop our own writing and storytelling skills. As we engage with well-crafted narratives, we subconsciously absorb writing techniques and storytelling structures. This exposure to quality writing can enhance our own writing abilities, allowing us to communicate more effectively and captivate our audience.

Reading as a Form of Relaxation and Stress Relief

In our fast-paced and digitally connected world, finding moments of relaxation and calm can be challenging. Reading offers a respite from the demands of daily life and provides a much-needed escape from the constant stream of information and stimuli.

When we immerse ourselves in a good book, our minds are transported to a different world. The act of reading requires focus and concentration, allowing us to temporarily disconnect from our worries and concerns. This focused immersion in a captivating story or subject matter helps us relax and unwind, promoting a sense of calm and tranquility.

Moreover, reading has been shown to lower heart rate and reduce stress levels. The rhythmic nature of reading, combined with the engagement of the mind, creates a soothing effect on the body. As we become absorbed in a book, our breathing slows, and our heart rate decreases, promoting a state of relaxation and stress relief.

Additionally, reading before bed can improve sleep quality. Engaging in a quiet and calming activity like reading helps signal to our bodies that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. By incorporating reading into our bedtime routine, we can promote better sleep hygiene and ensure a more restful night’s sleep.

How to Develop a Reading Habit

Developing a reading habit is a journey that requires commitment and intention. Here are some tips to help you cultivate a love for reading and make it a regular part of your life:

  • Set aside dedicated time for reading: Carve out specific time slots in your day for reading. It could be a few minutes in the morning, during your lunch break, or before bed. Consistency is key, so aim to read at the same time each day.
  • Create a cozy reading environment: Find a comfortable spot in your home where you can relax and focus on your reading. Set the mood with soft lighting, a cozy blanket, and a cup of tea or coffee.
  • Start with books that interest you: Choose books that align with your interests and passions. If you’re not sure where to start, ask for recommendations from friends, join a book club, or explore different genres to discover what resonates with you.
  • Set realistic reading goals: Set achievable reading goals for yourself, such as reading a certain number of pages or chapters each day. This will help you stay motivated and track your progress.
  • Limit distractions: Minimize distractions during your reading time by turning off your phone or putting it on silent mode. Create a quiet and focused environment that allows you to fully immerse yourself in the book.
  • Join a reading community: Engage with others who share your love for reading by joining online book clubs or discussion groups. This will provide opportunities for meaningful conversations and recommendations for new books to explore.
  • Keep a reading journal: Record your thoughts, reflections, and favorite quotes in a reading journal. This can enhance your reading experience and serve as a valuable resource for future reference. Remember, developing a reading habit takes time and patience. Be gentle with yourself and enjoy the process of discovering new worlds and ideas through books.

Choosing the Right Books for Personal Growth and Transformation

Choosing the right books for personal growth and transformation requires thoughtful consideration. Here are some factors to consider when selecting books that will enrich your life:

  • Reflect on your goals and interests: Consider what areas of personal growth you would like to focus on and choose books that align with those goals. Whether it’s self-help, spirituality, or professional development, there are books available to support your journey.
  • Read reviews and recommendations: Research books that have received positive reviews and recommendations from trusted sources. Look for books that have resonated with others and have a track record of inspiring personal growth and transformation.
  • Explore different genres and perspectives: Step out of your comfort zone and explore genres and perspectives that are new to you. By exposing yourself to diverse narratives, you expand your understanding of the world and gain fresh insights.
  • Consider the author’s credentials and expertise: Look into the author’s background and expertise to ensure they have the necessary knowledge and experience to guide you on your personal growth journey. Check for credentials, reviews, and recommendations before committing to a book.
  • Trust your intuition: Pay attention to your gut instinct when choosing books. If a particular title or synopsis resonates with you, trust that it may hold valuable insights and lessons for your personal growth.

Remember that personal growth is a lifelong journey, and the books you choose to read are a reflection of that journey. Be open to exploring new ideas and perspectives, and allow yourself to be transformed by the power of the written word.

Related: Reading These 9 Books Will Change Your Life

Incorporating Reading into Your Daily Routine

Incorporating reading into your daily routine is a surefire way to make it a regular habit. Here are some practical tips to help you make reading a part of your everyday life:

  • Set a reading goal: Determine how much time you want to dedicate to reading each day. It could be as little as 10 minutes or as much as an hour. Set a realistic goal that you can commit to consistently.
  • Create a reading schedule: Find a time in your daily schedule that works best for you. It could be in the morning, during your lunch break, or before bed. Establish a routine by consistently reading at the same time each day.
  • Keep a book with you at all times: Carry a book with you wherever you go, whether it’s a physical book or an e-reader. This way, you can take advantage of any free moments throughout the day, such as waiting in line or during your commute.
  • Make reading a priority: Treat reading as a non-negotiable part of your day. Prioritize it over other activities that may be less fulfilling or productive. By giving reading the importance it deserves, you’ll make it a priority in your life.
  • Create a cozy reading environment: Designate a specific reading spot in your home where you can relax and focus on your book. Make it cozy and inviting with cushions, blankets, and soft lighting.
  • Minimize distractions: Create a distraction-free environment by turning off your phone or putting it on silent mode. This will help you stay focused and fully immerse yourself in the book.
  • Keep a reading log: Keep track of the books you’ve read, along with any thoughts, reflections, or favorite quotes. This will not only serve as a record of your reading journey but also provide valuable insights for future reference.

Remember, consistency is key when it comes to developing a reading habit. By incorporating reading into your daily routine, you’ll be able to enjoy the lifelong benefits that books have to offer.

Ever read 4 books in a day?

Although reading is one of the most beneficial things that you can do for your mind, most people just can’t find the time in their days.

It can be difficult to read 500 pages a day like Warren Buffet or read 50 books a year like Bill Gates and with our daily routines and demanding day jobs, this may just not be possible.

We are here to bridge the gap!

With the Snapreads app, you get the key insights from the best nonfiction books in minutes, not hours or days. Our experts transform these books into quick, memorable, easy-to-understand insights that you can read on your time or listen on the go.

What Is Snapreads?

it is essential reading

With the Snapreads app, you get the key insights from the best nonfiction books in minutes, not hours or days. Our experts transform these books into quick, memorable, easy-to-understand insights you can read when you have the time or listen to them on the go.

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Author Alain de Botton is known for applying philosophical concepts to everyday life; his books include How Proust Can Change Your Life (1997), Status Anxiety (2004) and The Architecture of Happiness (2006). In 2008 he co-founded The School of Life, an innovative school with a focus on emotional intelligence.

Alain de Botton

1. Mythologies by Roland Barthes (1957) I wouldn’t have become the writer I am if I hadn’t discovered Barthes. At university I felt a confused longing to write, but couldn’t imagine what sort of writer to be – then I discovered a Frenchman who showed me a new way of writing nonfiction. Mythologies is about the most ordinary things: washing powder, the Eiffel Tower, falling in love, short and long-hemmed skirts, photographs of his mother. And yet he brought a classical education and a philosophical mind to bear on these subjects. He knew how to connect Racine and beach holidays, Freud and the anticipation of a lover’s phone call. His work rejected the division between the high and the low; he could see the deeper themes running through supposedly banal things.

2. The Unquiet Grave by Cyril Connolly (1951) This is usually out of print and is often compared unfavourably with Connolly’s far-better-known Enemies of Promise (1938). The accusation most often levelled at it is that it’s a work of self-indulgence, which fails to distinguish between talking a lot about yourself and being self-centred; Connolly did a lot of the former, but was not the latter. It’s a seductive mixture of diary, commonplace book, essay, travelogue and memoir, arranged in loose paragraphs in which Connolly gives us his views on women, religion, death, seduction, infatuation and literature. The thoughts are wise and beautifully modelled, with the balance of the best French aphorisms: for example: “There is no fury like an ex-wife searching for a new lover.”

3. Letters from a Stoic by Seneca (AD65) Given the times we live in, Seneca should be the author of the hour. In a time of continuous political upheaval (Nero was on the imperial throne), Seneca interpreted philosophy as a discipline to keep us calm against a backdrop of perpetual danger. He tried to calm the sense of injustice in his readers by reminding them – in AD62 – that natural and manmade disasters will always be a feature of our lives, however sophisticated and safe we think we have become. We must, argued Seneca, hold the possibility of the most obscene events in mind at all times. No one should undertake a journey by car, or walk down the stairs or say goodbye to a friend without an awareness – neither gruesome nor unnecessarily dramatic – of fatal possibilities.

4. Essays and Aphorisms by Arthur Schopenhauer (1851) Schopenhauer is another great pessimist who makes you feel happier: he pointed out that all humans find it easy to imagine perfection, but that it’s a problem to suppose such perfection can ever occur. The modern bourgeois philosophy pins its hopes firmly on those two great presumed ingredients of happiness – love and work. But there is vast unthinking cruelty discreetly coiled within this magnanimous assurance that everyone will discover satisfaction here, which almost never happens. So our individual misfortunes – our fractious marriages, our unexploited ambitions – instead of seeming to us quasi-inevitable aspects of life, will weigh down on us like particular curses.

5. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (1913-1927) What I appreciate here is that this isn’t a novel so much as a philosophy book with novelistic details. It’s one person’s search for how to stop wasting, and start appreciating, that most precious commodity: time. The meaning of life turns out to be located not so much in love or worldly success (two alternatives amply explored by Proust) as in aesthetic experience: the heightened, clarified, sympathetic version of reality we find in the best art.

Film: Mark Kermode ‘I remain in awe of Kim Newman’s work on horror’

Mark Kermode is chief film critic for the Observer. He is the author of several books on cinema, including The Good, The Bad & The Multiplex: What’s Wrong with Modern Movies? (2011) And Hatchet Job: Love Movies, Hate Critics (2013).

Mark Kermode

1. Men, Women, and Chainsaws by Carol J Clover (1992) Clover was a specialist in old Norse-Icelandic literature who began to notice feminist undercurrents in the disreputable slasher movies that had traditionally been dismissed as sadistic trash. Exploring the complex ways in which horror audiences identify not with the tormentors but with the tormented, Clover identified the “final girl” as the touchstone character of these narratives, brilliantly refiguring theories of gender identity in exploitation cinema. Astute, insightful, and terrifically entertaining, Men, Women, and Chainsaws crystallised ideas many horror fans had previously struggled to express, and did so with an irresistible enthusiasm.

2. The Dilys Powell Film Reader by Edited by Christopher Cook (1991) Over the years several friends and relatives have bought me film readers from the publisher Carcanet, including works by CA Lejeune , Graham Greene and (of course) Philip French , all of which now occupy a special section of my bookshelf. The first, however, was this collection by “the doyenne of British film critics”, Dilys Powell, which my mentor, Arnold Hinchliffe, bought me as a reminder of what “proper” film criticism should look like. Reading the work of critics like these has always been important to me, not least because it serves to remind me how elegant the medium can be.

3. When the Shooting Stops… the Cutting Begins by Ralph Rosenblum & Robert Karen (1979) It’s often claimed (with some justification) that film critics don’t understand how movies are made, but when it comes to editing even those who make films can be baffled by this most “invisible” process. Editor Ralph Rosenblum worked on movies as diverse as The Night They Raided Minsky’s and Annie Hall , and his first-hand account of the practicalities and politics of the cutting room is as fascinating as it is accessible. With eye-opening candour, he explains how films can be lost, found and reshaped in post-production, blending technical knowledge with vast personal experience.

4. Black American Cinema by Edited by Manthia Diawara (1993) Having studied English literature rather than film at Manchester University, I remain unqualified to talk about cinema other than as a lifelong enthusiast – something that only gets you so far. In attempting to plug the vast academic gaps in my knowledge, this seminal collection of essays from the AFI [American Film Institute] readers series proved invaluable. In the preface Diawara talks about addressing both “a black film aesthetic by focusing on the black artist” and “the thorny issue of film spectatorship”. This authoritative volume covers film-makers from Oscar Micheaux to Spike Lee , and is as relevant now as it was when first published.

5. Nightmare Movies by Kim Newman (1985) Along with the horror/fantasy film critics Nigel Floyd and Alan Jones, Kim Newman was a guiding light when I started out in film journalism, and I remain in awe of his work. First published in the 1980s, since when it has been massively expanded and updated, Nightmare Movies is matchless stuff – a textbook which turns Newman’s encyclopaedic knowledge into a readable romp through the hidden byways of horror cinema. Like Mark Cousins’s The Story of Film , it’s as book that never ceases to amaze and delight me.

essential books

Economics: Noreena Hertz ‘Great economic thinking must straddle politics, ethics and history’

Noreena Hertz has been economics editor of ITV News since May last year; she is a distinguished fellow at Cambridge, visiting professor at Utrecht and honorary professor at UCL. Her books The Silent Takeover (2001), IOU: The Debt Threat and Why We Must Defuse It (2004) and Eyes Wide Open (2013) have been published in 22 countries.

Noreena Hertz

1. The Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith (1958) I read this when I was studying economics for A-level aged 15 and it opened my eyes to the fact that it was a much richer discipline than the graphs and numbers in the dry textbooks I’d been exposed to. Here was a thinker who was making clear that economics was inextricably linked with politics and that economists not only could, but should, take views on big social and political issues, should challenge prevailing beliefs and norms. That was very influential reading at such an early age. It’s also beautifully written and showed me you could do yourself a real service as an economist if you could write well.

2. Exit, Voice, and Loyalty by Albert O Hirschman (1970) This is a really slim book but with a good idea: essentially that our power doesn’t only lie in our ability to walk away but also in our ability to stay put and complain. The economic orthodoxy up until then was that the market was the regulating force, so what regulated company behaviours was that customers could walk away if they didn’t like their product and what regulated governments was that an election would come up. But what Hirschman said was that it can be even more powerful to stay and exercise your ability to complain. I found it a powerful idea when I read it at university and it was definitely influential in my thinking behind The Silent Takeover .

3. Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance by Douglass North (1990) This is probably the hardest read from my list, but the ideas are some of the most influential I’ve come across – this was when I was studying for my PhD. His big idea was that when you’re trying to understand why some countries become rich while others remain poor, you have to look at the complex interplay of the country’s history, culture, societal norms, laws and belief systems, not just the markets. We ignore history and culture at our peril. I was looking at Russia in the early 90s and realised you couldn’t just impose a market economy on to it and expect something to emerge that looked like the US or the UK, but that a very particular Russian form of capitalism would emerge.

4. If Women Counted by Marilyn Waring (1988) I read this at university and it was the first feminist economics book I read – I wasn’t even aware the branch existed. Waring talks about how much of women’s work at home isn’t included in GDP calculations, and how women are ignored in traditional economics. She argues that the production of well-cared-for children is just as important as that of cars or crops. It triggered my interest in where gender and economics intersect and I went on to do work around who we value in society. I think there has been progress, but the whole caring economy still remains significantly undervalued.

5. Development As Freedom by Amartya Sen (1999) This essentially argues that economic development isn’t just about raising income, but also about political rights – health, opportunity, safety, security – ideas that were very influential in the creation of the UN’s human development goals. I spent a few years working in Africa and the Middle East and Sen’s work really resonated with the realities on the ground, how a person’s life was not necessarily enhanced in an uptick in that country’s GDP, how you had to look at how the money was being distributed and who got access to it. What all my authors have in common is that they straddle politics, ethics and history. Sometimes when people think about economics they’re thinking of it as a much narrower, less rich subject than it really is.

Law: Helena Kennedy ‘We have to keep remembering we are capable of terrible things’

Helena Kennedy QC is a Labour peer and an expert on human rights, civil liberties and the constitution. Her books include Eve Was Framed (1993) and Just Law (2004). She is chair of the Helena Kennedy Foundation, which promotes social inclusion in higher education.

Helena Kennedy

1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) This little booklet stays in my handbag and I constantly refer to it. My work is increasingly about human rights and this foundational document shows their development and reminds us why they matter. For example, it addresses the right to equal access to education. I’m the president of a bursary programme that helps the very disadvantaged begin education again: girls who get pregnant at school, young men in trouble. We’ve discovered that people fleeing persecution and given sanctuary are charged as if they were foreign students and article 26 argues this is unfair. I believe human rights should be integrated into our daily lives by recognising that everyone has a right to life, liberty and security.

2. Archbold Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice (Published annually) Archbold is the criminal lawyer’s bible: a great, fat legal tome, which I spend my life carting around. Now I have one shoulder that slopes down further than the other. The book sets out the law and is regularly brought up to date. It’s useful for addressing the law on homicide, for example, which has been modernised, and analysing issues such as diminished responsibility, which has evolved due to advances in psychiatry. It explains the changing position on the killing of newborn infants and the law on joint enterprise. The fine print is incredibly important to the way in which you make legal argument, a journey of research that culminates in the use of relevant cases in court.

3. The Rule of Law by Tom Bingham (2010) Bingham was the president of our supreme court, or the appellate division of the House of Lords, as it was then known. He was a wonderful judge and an inspirational man and he wrote this very small book in which he sets down the meaning of the rule of law. It emphasises the importance of knowing the rules of society and the social contract and encourages equality before and open access to the law, something I’m worried about now because of the legal aid cuts. He discusses the sovereignty of parliament and I’m sure the judges had it in their mind during the recent decision regarding parliament’s role in any major constitutional matter (triggering article 50).

4. Century: One Hundred Years of Human Progress, Regression, Suffering and Hope, 1899-1999 by Bruce Bernard and Terence McNamee (2002) I have this fantastic book on a stand in my study. It’s an incredible commentary on the 20th century, in many ways a century of horror, but which gave us the reasons why human rights matter. On every page beautiful black-and-white photographs display the inhumanity of war, lynching in America, Belsen, poverty, events throughout the world. I learned human rights by sitting in cells, in immigrant detention centres, in refugee camps. But you also learn from understanding our history and there’s nothing more powerful than an image to remind us. In the field of law, we’ve got to keep remembering we’re capable of terrible things unless we speak to our better angels.

5. Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times Edited by Neil Astley (2002) I often use poetry when speaking to the jury, and I share the same taste as Neil Astley, who edited this anthology. It’s wonderful to find words that speak about human experience. This includes many poets I love, such as Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes and Mary Oliver. She wrote a poem called Wild Geese, which is about how we are all connected, and you want to remind jurors of that connection, particularly on difficult cases. Poetry reaches parts that you otherwise cannot. You can quote Martin Luther King on “the arc of history”, or use Seamus Heaney to describe a moment to be seized, and say that as human beings we must rise to the occasion.

Life writing: Olivia Laing ‘Wojnarowicz’s Close to the Knives is my book of a lifetime’

Olivia Laing is the author of To the River (2011), The Trip to Echo Spring (2014) and The Lonely City (2016). In 2014, she was Eccles writer in residence at the British Library. She’s currently working on Everybody , about freedom and the human body.

Olivia Laing

1. The Diary of Virginia Woolf (Five volumes, 1915-1941) Everything starts for me with Woolf. I read Orlando first, but my abiding love is for the five pastel-jacketed volumes of her diaries . She began on 1 January 1915, writing after tea and using the notebooks as a laboratory for ideas, a place to catch stray thoughts and observations: weather reports from the teeming days. It’s this rough quality that appeals to me, the sense of someone thinking at full pelt, worrying their way into new concepts, new forms of language. As for that last, steadfast entry: “L. is doing the rhododendrons…”

2. Collected Poems by Frank O’Hara (1995) My battered copy bristles with pink and yellow Post-its. A queer poet and curator who was killed by a dune buggy on Fire Island in 1966 at the age of 40, O’Hara is one of the most purely talented and nimble writers who ever lived. His poems are a scourge to pomposity: casual, intimate and expansive, spreeing between registers, cramming in high art and oranges, taxi cabs and exclamation marks. I keep trying to put him in a book, but he wriggles away. All the same, he has my heart.

3. The Andy Warhol Diaries (1989) I’m not sure I’ve ever written a piece without consulting the formidable index of Andy Warhol’s diaries. He knew everyone, went everywhere, possessed a gimlet eye for the absurd and was never shy about dishing the dirt on friends and enemies alike. Originally begun as a way of logging his expenditure for the IRS, Warhol dictated the diary down the phone each morning to his secretary, Pat Hackett, which accounts for the wickedly giggly tone. Forget self-reflection: Andy was the consummate mirror for his times, making this the best imaginable history of the glittering, vacuous 1980s.

4. Modern Nature by Derek Jarman (1991) It always strikes me as funny that the nature writing currently in vogue never involves any sex. I much prefer Derek Jarman’s sublime and criminally underrated Modern Nature , a memoir-cum-plantsman’s diary, written as a kind of spell against the devastations of Aids. Jarman is a magically acute observer, celebrating wildness in all its forms, from the poppies and sea kale of Dungeness beach to the midnight boys out cruising on Hampstead Heath. Reading it now, I’m amazed to see how pervasively it shaped me. My aesthetics, my politics, my model of how to be an artist, even my style as a gardener, were founded here.

5. Close to the Knives by David Wojnarowicz (1991) This, by the artist and activist David Wojnarowicz, is my book of a lifetime, my book for these dark times, an antidote to stupidity, cruelty and oppression of all kinds. Knives is about Wojnarowicz’s life – his boyhood as a homeless hustler in New York, his diagnosis with Aids, the death of his best friend – but it is also about art and power, sex, freedom and resistance. It’s long been out of print in the UK. Happily, next March it will be brought back into circulation by Canongate. Get those pre-orders in now.

Nature writing: Richard Mabey ‘Lewis Thomas changed the way I thought, wrote and laughed’

Richard Mabey is a journalist and broadcaster whose writing examines the relationship between nature and culture. Mabey’s published works span more than 40 years and include Food for Free (1972), Flora Britannica (1996) and Nature Cure (2005). His most recent book is The Cabaret of Plants (2016).

Richard Mabey

1. The Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas (1974) I’m on my second copy of The Lives of a Cell and its wine stains and frayed pages give it the air of one of the ancient and sociable organisms that swarm in the text. I first read it in the 1970s after it had, uniquely, won two US National Book awards, in both science and arts categories, and it changed the way I thought, wrote and laughed. Thomas was a polymathic, witty, literate biologist and this collection of short essays covers subjects as seemingly disconnected as moth pheromones, language as an evolving ecosystem and the meaning of mythological animals. But his genius was to find and explore their connections, in a coherent story of reverberating wisdom and sublime prose.

2. The Poet as Botanist by MM Mahood (2008) Professor Molly Mahood is an eminent English literature scholar and her description of this book as exploring “the relationship between biological thought and the poetic process” does not do credit to its darting intelligence and mischievous humour. She trawls the works of writers such as Crabbe, Wordsworth, DH Lawrence, Ruskin and especially John Clare to examine how their botanical knowledge informs their poetry and vice versa. Poetry emerges as a kind of science, truth alloyed out of acute observation and imaginative insight.

3. Insectivorous Plants by Charles Darwin (1875) When I was younger, I held a fashionably Romantic disdain for Darwin as a cold mechanist. Then I began to read him properly and found that he was passionate, uncertain, a magnificent writer and full of Keats’s “negative capability”. I once declaimed the final paragraph of On the Origin of Species , with its famous rhapsody to “endless forms most beautiful”, as a secular grace at a wedding breakfast and hankies appeared. Insectivorous Plants is a classic expression of both his scientific method and prose style and, as he experimentally feeds sundews with the contents of his larder, you feel you are in on a fizzing country house murder mystery.

4. Ancient Woodland by Oliver Rackham (1980) Oliver Rackham, who died in 2015, almost singlehandedly turned historical ecology into a national enthusiasm. Ancient Woodland is his masterpiece, an overarching survey of East Anglia’s woodland heritage that embraces as evidence Anglo-Saxon charters, carpenters’ receipts and the habits of mildews. He excoriated generalisations and what he called “factoids” in elegant English that had its roots in the precision of Gilbert White and the robustness of William Cobbett. He had little truck with the self-centredness of modern nature writing but we are all in his debt.

5. Findings , Sightlines by Kathleen Jamie (2005, 2012) Alan Bennett’s journals are my regular secular collects, but to see how “nature” prose should be done I turn repeatedly to Kathleen Jamie ’s essays. Writing of the moon and the night sky, or the skeletons of embryos in a medical museum, she has a clarity, an attentiveness that rinses your mind. She is quite without ego and has no need of extravagant metaphorical frameworks. “The outer world flew open like a door,” she writes, “and I wondered, what is it that we’re just not seeing?”

Thought and language: Steven Pinker ‘Dawkins inspired me to write for a broad audience’

Steven Pinker is professor of psychology at Harvard and writes about language, the mind and human nature. His books include The Blank Slate (2002), The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011), which argued that violence in the developed world is declining, and The Sense of Style (2014).

Steven Pinker

1. The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins (1986) This was one of the books that inspired me to try my hand at scientific writing for a broad audience. It’s a model of how to explain complicated ideas without dumbing them down or boring one’s readers and Dawkins’s description of how he refuted a creationist’s claim that bombardier beetles could not have evolved sent me into a fit of giggles. I’ve gone to it both for explanations of evolutionary phenomena and for examples of lucid prose, including the masterful use of analogy, which I reproduced in my book The Stuff of Thought .

2. The Strategy of Conflict by Thomas Schelling (1960) So many profound ideas were first explained in this witty masterpiece: the bizarre logic of nuclear deterrence; the paradoxical value of being helplessly incommunicado or irrationally hotheaded; why negotiators split the difference or settle on a round number; why bribes and threats are so often veiled; the best way to rendezvous with someone if you made no plans and your mobile phones go dead.

3. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey Pullum (2002) I go to this massive reference work to understand the logic of English. Unlike the primary linguistics literature, where you’ll find a mess of contradictory theories and a blizzard of jargon, this book analyses every grammatical construction in English in a consistent framework, with depth and insight that are nothing short of astonishing. I go to it for my research on language, my tinkering with definitions and usage notes for The American Heritage Dictionary (for which I’m chair of the usage panel) and for guidance in my own writing. Most of all, when I had to commit to a set of analyses and technical terms in my writing guide The Sense of Style , I adapted them from the Cambridge Grammar .

4. Retreat from Doomsday by John Mueller (1989) It seemed foolhardy in 1989 to publish a book with the subtitle “The obsolescence of major war”, but in this punchy and wit-filled book Mueller correctly predicted the end of the cold war and the decline of interstate conflict. He also gave superb analyses of the periods of war and peace over the past two centuries and fascinating reflections on the nature of moral progress, such as the abolition of slavery. This book was a major inspiration for my own The Better Angels of Our Nature .

5. The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch (2011) This 21st-century statement of the ideals of the Enlightenment offers fresh insight on a vast number of topics, including the workings of human cognition, the ways of science and the drivers of progress. Deutsch doesn’t labour to be provocative for its own sake and he never passes along the conventional wisdom: everything is thought through and patiently explained.

Music: Paul Morley ‘As a rock critic you’re writing about much more than music’

Paul Morley is a music journalist and television talking head. He wrote for the NME from 1977 to 1983 and has chronicled the era of British post-punk culture in several books on Joy Division. His part-memoir, part-biography, The Age of Bowie , was published last year.

Paul Morley

1. Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom by Nik Cohn (1970) Cohn wrote this book aged 22 in seven committed weeks to the loud sound of Beethoven’s string quartet No 15 in A Minor, rather than the Little Richard, Dylan, James Brown, Beatles, Who and Stones he was vividly mythologising. Cohn helped me understand how exciting writing about pop could be. The old saying that writing about music is like dancing about architecture is wrong because, as Cohn made brilliantly clear, as a rock critic you are writing about much more than music – personality, appearance, illusion, myth, emotion, desire – and ultimately about yourself. Your response should be illuminating, exaggerated, inspired, serious, mischievous and put the reader somewhere new and special, like the music.

2. The Aesthetics of Rock by Richard Meltzer (1970) This was another book ambitiously inventing a new form of writing, a new way of talking about art that fixed a fan’s intensity to a self-styled specialist knowledge. Briefly a philosophy student at Yale, Meltzer wasn’t afraid to consider that rock music was the world itself, a battle between purpose and purposelessness, and take it from there. It made rock criticism an obsessive, dramatic and ultimately futile search for meaning, an epic contemplation of possibilities. Meltzer advocated writing as a performance that mixed enthusiasm, insight, mystery and a weirdly focused sense of absurdity. The idea of writing as a projection of your own personality, became, for better or worse, a major factor in my own writing.

3. Silence: Lectures and Writings by John Cage (1961) A timeless book about ideas that is itself full of ideas, a series of conceptual invitations. In the early 70s, when it was hard to actually hear any Cage music, I thought of him as being as much a writer as a musician, and not just about music, but about the mind, performance, pleasure, the future. After the influence of Meltzer and Cohn, and their indirect connection with the new journalism of Wolfe, Mailer, Didion and Sontag, my search for an innovative form of nonfiction writing led to the poetic, provocative Cage. It was never just about what he said but how he said it, his experiments with form as well as content.

4. Stockhausen: Conversations With the Composer by Jonathan Cott (1973) I choose this as much for its influence as a book about the nature of the interview as for the ego, spirit and cosmic timing of musical illusionist Karlheinz Stockhausen , and for its enigmatic blue cover and minimal Picador elegance, which as a 16-year-old were irresistible. The way Cott, a writer for Rolling Stone , slipped through the looking glass into star man Stockhausen’s slightly menacing other world, burned the idea of the interview into my mind and it became something I wanted to do as much as being the personality rock critic – spend time with favourite musicians, having their glamour rub off on me, but also get some clues about life, living and other mysteries.

5. Arts in Society Edited by Paul Barker (1977) This wonderful book compiles the stimulating, idealistic writings of weekly magazine New Society , first published in 1962, which expanded the radical approaches to popular culture and mass media initiated by Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes and Richard Hoggart. It included pioneering essays on style, pop, art, TV and architecture by Angela Carter, George Melly and John Berger, all of them performers and entertainers in their own way. These were a strong influence on me as a new 20-year-old writer at the NME , serious about the role of critic and trying to bring speculative urgency into writing about rock. It’s original thinking and writing about art that was often itself art and remains invigorating today.

History: David Olusoga ‘Malcolm X’s book is one of the great indictments of US racism’

British Nigerian historian David Olusoga is co-author of The Kaiser’s Holocaust (2011), and author of The World’s War (2014). He produces radio and television programmes for the BBC that investigate ideas of colonialism, slavery and racism in military history and in contemporary anglophone culture.

David Olusoga

1. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965) As for many people who write about race, this book was life-changing for me. It’s really two books in one, and strictly speaking neither of them is an autobiography. The introduction and epilogue, by Alex Haley (of Roots fame), could easily stand alone as a poignant snapshot of Malcolm X in his final years. The main body of the book is the fruit of more than 50 face-to-face interviews and plots how the young Malcolm Little is transformed, first into the Harlem criminal Detroit Red and then, via the US prison system, into the black Muslim Malcolm X. Over the months of interviews Malcolm bared his soul to Haley but often his accounts of others are the most telling: he describes the heyday and decline of his gangland boss “West Indian Archie”, the character of his closest friend, “Shorty”, and the suffering of his own parents; his father was murdered by the KKK. Alongside Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man , this is one of the great literary indictments of American racism.

2. The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt (1951) Arendt is better known today for her 1963 book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil . But, to me, her greatest work is this 1951 classic. Much of my historical work focuses on the idea of linkage; that what happens in colonies and on distant battlefields seeps back into Europe. More than any thinker it was Hannah Arendt who identified how those movements of ideas, racial theories, people and methods takes place, showing how they fused with other forces – most notably European antisemitism – to shape and ultimately disfigure the 20th century.

3. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1899) You can read this in a day but you can then spend years reading the many books written about it – few novels in history have generated so much speculation and debate. That’s because as well as being one of the most compelling and shocking novels, it is also a brilliant exercise in ambiguity. Whose voice do we hear, the unnamed narrator or the witness to events, Marlow? Where is the book set? Conrad never mentions Africa or the Congo but talks of a great river in a great continent. The biggest mystery of all is who – if anyone – was the central character, Kurtz, based upon? A whole array of possible contenders, men whom Conrad may have met during his time in the Congo, have been assembled by historians. To me it is impossible to get a rounded sense of the age of empire – the audacity and the horror – without reading Conrad.

4. Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals by John Gray (2007) Since Darwin, millions of people have come to terms with the idea that humans are little different from other animals. In Straw Dogs John Gray forces us to examine the difficult corollaries of that easy statement. It’s a book that’s become infamous for its pessimism yet I’ve always found it enormously liberating, as it challenges so many of my own unexamined assumptions. Gray dissects humanity’s seemingly innate need for the consolation of religion, our addiction to the myth of progress and our Darwin-proof belief that we “belong to a species which can be master of its own destiny”. This, the so-called “philosopher of pessimism” warns us, is “faith not science”.

5. The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Vols 1-5 Orwell is a victim of his own versatility. Because he transitioned from journalist to novelist his posthumous fame centres on the novels 1984 and Animal Farm . Yet for most of his life Orwell was a working journalist and eloquent witness to the political ructions of the 1930s and 1940s. These volumes of his collected journalism are not merely a masterclass in journalistic prose, they’re history written in real time. No one skewered the hypocrisies of his age with greater precision and no one was more willing to own up to his own mistakes and misplaced loyalties. In my view, if you’re a journalist and Orwell isn’t one of your heroes then something’s gone wrong.

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When studying, especially at higher levels, a great deal of time is spent reading. 

Academic reading should not be seen as a passive activity, but an active process that leads to the development of learning. 

Reading for learning requires a conscious effort to make links, understand opinions, research and apply what you learn to your studies. 

This page covers the following areas: how reading develops, the goals of reading, approaching reading with the right attitude and developing a reading strategy.

Everything we read tells us something about the person who wrote it.  Paying close attention to how and why the author writes something will open ourselves up to their perspective on life, which in turn enriches our understanding of the world we live in.

How Reading Develops

Learning to read as a child usually results in the ability to read simple material relatively easily.

As we develop our skills in reading, the process often becomes more challenging.  We are introduced to new vocabulary and more complex sentence structures.  Early school textbooks offer us facts  or ‘truths’ about the world which we are required to learn; we are not, at this stage encouraged to question the authority of the writers of these published materials.

As schooling progresses however, we are led to consider a range of perspectives, or ways of looking at a topic, rather than just one.  We learn to compare these perspectives and begin to form opinions about them. 

This change in reading from a surface approach (gathering facts) to a deep approach (interpreting) is essential in order to gain the most out of our studies.

Reading becomes not simply a way to see what is said but to recognise and interpret what is said, taking into account subtleties such as bias, assumptions and the perspectives of the author. 

Academic reading, therefore, means understanding the author’s interpretation of reality, which may be very different from our own.

The Goal of Reading

Most of us read in everyday life for different purposes – you are reading this page now, for a purpose.

We read to gain factual information for practical use, for example, a train timetable or a cinema listing. For such documents we rarely need to analyse or interpret.

We may also read fiction in order to be entertained; depending upon the reader, a level of interpretation may be applied, and if reading fiction as part of an English Literature degree, then analysis of the author’s writing style, motives etc. is imperative.

Many of us read newspapers and magazines, either in print or online, to inform us about current events.  In some cases the bias of the writer is explicit and this leads us to interpret what is said in light of this bias.  It is therefore easy to view a particular article as a statement of opinion rather than fact. Political biases, for example, are well known in the press.

When reading academic material such as textbooks, journals and so on, you should be always reading to interpret and analyse. Nothing should be taken as fact or ‘truth’.  You will be engaged in, what is termed as, critical reading .

When you read while studying an academic course, your principal goal will be to gather information in order to answer an assignment question or gain further information on a subject for an exam or other type of assessment. 

Underlying this is the more general theme of learning and development, to develop your thoughts, to incorporate new ideas into your existing understanding, to see things from different angles or view-points, to develop your knowledge and understanding and ultimately yourself.

Learning therefore comes about from developing your understanding of the meaning of the details. It is therefore crucial to engage with the text as you read, in a process called active reading.

Active Reading

Active reading is the process of engaging with the text as you read. Techniques for making your reading more active include:

Underlining or highlighting key phrases as you read . This can be a useful way to remind yourself about what you thought was important when you reread the text later. However, it is important not to highlight too much. You might, for example, consider reading a paragraph at a time before highlighting or underlining. This will allow you to identify the most important ideas within it. Alternatively, you might find that it is best to read a whole chapter first, to get a sense of the main ideas, then go back and highlight points that build the argument.

Make notes in the margin to highlight questions or thoughts . You can do this in both ebooks and hard copies, or use post-it notes if you do not wish to mark the book (for example, if it is a library book). This process helps you to engage better with the content, and therefore makes what you read more memorable.

Use the signposts within the text itself . Look out for phrases such as ‘crucially’ and ‘most importantly’. These highlight areas that the author(s) felt were important.

Break up your reading time with periods where you write down summaries of what you have read . You can either do this without referring back to the text, or simply use draw on the text. This will help you to focus on the most important ideas.

Asking yourself questions about the author’s intended meaning , or the effect they wished to produce. This is a process called critical reading , and there is more about this process in our page on Critical Reading .

Necessary Reading Materials

When you are engaged in formal study, for example at college or university, there will be distinct areas of reading that you will be directed towards.

These may include:

Course Materials

Course materials will vary considerably from one institution to another and also across different disciplines and for different teachers.

You may be given course materials in the form of a book, especially if you are taking a distance-learning course, or in hand-outs in lectures.  Such materials may also be available online via a virtual learning environment (VLE). 

You may be expected to make your own notes from lectures and seminars based around the syllabus of the course.  The course materials are your main indication of what the course is about, the main topics covered and usually the assessment required.  Course materials also often point you to other types of reading materials.

Core texts are the materials, usually books, journals or trusted online resources which you will be directed to via the course materials.

Core texts are essential reading, their aim is usually to expand on the subjects, discussions and arguments presented in the course materials, or through lectures etc.  Remember that core texts are primarily what you will be assessed on. You will need to demonstrate comprehension of theories and ideas from these texts in your assignments.

Suggested Reading

As well as indicating core texts, reading lists may also recommend other sources of material.

Suggested reading will not only increase your comprehension of a subject area but will potentially greatly enhance the quality of your written work.

Other Sources

Perhaps one of the most important academic reading skills is to identify your own additional reading materials.

Do not just stick to what you have been told to read but expand your knowledge further by reading as much as you can around the subjects you are studying.  Keep a note of everything relevant you have read, either in print or online, as you will need this information for your reference list or bibliography when producing an assignment.

See our page: Academic Referencing for more information on how to reference correctly.

Attitudes to Reading

Often, when we begin to read books relating to a new topic, we find that the language and style are difficult to follow.

This can be off-putting and disheartening, but persevere; specialist subject areas will contain their own specialist ‘language’ which you will need to learn. Perseverance will mean that you become more familiar with the style of writing and the vocabulary or jargon associated with the specific subject area.

More generally, academic writing tends to use a very cautious style or language. The writer may seem to use elaborate, long sentences, but this is usually to ensure that they are saying precisely what they mean. 

See our page: Writing Styles for more information about the various styles of writing that you are likely to encounter.

A useful aid to reading is to have a good quality dictionary to hand; however, you may find a specialist dictionary is necessary for some subject areas – there are many free online dictionaries also.  Even though a dictionary can be useful, it should not be relied upon too heavily.  Dictionaries do not often take into account the context and, therefore, you may not fully grasp the meaning the author intended by simply looking up a word or phrase.

Fundamentally it is important to remain detached from, and be objective towards, what you are reading, in order to see and understand the logic within an argument.   Objectivity differs from subjectivity which means bringing your own emotions and opinions to what you read.  Being objective allows you to stand back and be emotionally detached from your reading. This allows you to focus attention upon what you are reading and not on your feelings about what you read.

It helps if you have a genuine interest in the subject that you are reading about.   If you find that you are reading something that is designated as relevant then it is important to try to develop an interest so that you may get out of it what is required.  You may, in such circumstances, find it useful to ask yourself questions as you read, such as:  “ Why does the author find this theme interesting or important? ”,  “ How does what I’m reading relate to what I already know about the topic? ”

Continue to: Critical Reading Reading with Children

See also: Sources of Information | Note-Taking for Reading Planning an Essay | Writing an Essay How and Why to Develop the Habit of Reading Every Day

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Home > Blog > Tips and Insights > The Importance of Reading: A Reading Love Letter

The Importance of Reading: A Reading Love Letter

Dec 21, 2021

Laura Benson

Director of Curriculum and Professional Development

Young Readers Foundation

The Importance Of Reading

Reading is an exercise for the mind. It helps kids calm down and relax, opening doors of new knowledge to enlighten their minds. Kids who read grow up to have better cognitive skills. Reading is good for everyone, not only children or young adults. On the internet you will find many lists with up to 30 reasons why reading is important. Here I limit myself to 15 thoroughly substantiated reasons.

Reading improves vocabulary

Even as adults, when we read, we come across many new words we never really heard of. And we learn from this. As you read, you come across new words, phrases and writing styles. This is even more so for young people. Children sometimes stumble over their words, do not know how to pronounce them or what they mean. By reading, young people encounter new words more frequently and sometimes repetitively and therefore can see them better in their context. If you then pay attention to the pronunciation as a parent, these children will be better prepared for school.

Better comprehension

Kids who are encouraged to read at an early age have better comprehension of things around them. They develop smart thinking abilities and are more receptive to creativity and ideas that other kids their age lack. As a result, they grow up to be a good deal more intelligent and aware of their surroundings than kids who don’t read. The more you read, the more imaginative you become. Whenever you read a fiction book, it takes you another world. In the new world, your imagination works at its best as you try to see things in your own mind.

Develops critical thinking skills

One of the primary benefits of reading books is its ability to develop critical thinking skills. For example, reading a mystery novel sharpens your mind. What elements are there in a story to make this or that conclusion. Or if a book is non-fiction you will sometimes ask yourself if the author is right. Critical thinking skills are crucial when it comes to making important day to day decisions. Reading requires an individual to think and process information in a way that watching television can’t. The more you read, the deeper your understanding becomes about what you’re reading and its application.

Improves memory

Every time you read a book, you have to remember the setting of the book, the characters, their backgrounds, their history, their personalities, the sub-plots and so much more. As your brain learns to remember all this, your memory becomes better. What’s more, with every new memory you create, you create new pathways and this strengthens the existing ones.

Improves results at school

Kids who indulge in reading book and learning new things do better at school. They are more creative, open to new ideas, and develop empathy for others. For instance, kids who read about heroes idolize them, kids who love reading anatomy books dream of becoming a doctor, etc. They learn to empathize with characters in the books and want to be like them. Not only that, they learn valuable life lessons such as helping others and being kind. Moral codes such as goods things will be appreciated and evils punished take root in their minds too, as a result of which they learn to stay away from trouble.

Improves analytical skills

Figuring out how the story was going to end before finishing the book means you utilized your analytical skills. Reading allows your thinking skills to become more developed in the sense that you consider all aspects.

Builds confidence

In a world where competition in every walk of life prevails, we need to build a child’s personality as to have considerable confidence in themselves. Kids who lack confidence in their early stages often grow up to be shy, and at times suicidal, since they develop a victim mentality owing to the lack of confidence in their own self. They find it hard to face even the smallest of challenges life throws at them, instead simply giving up. Reading books sharpens many skills and all together they’ll build confidence.

Helps you socialize

We can always share whatever we have read with our family, friends and colleagues. All this increases our ability to socialize. Humans are social beings and in the world of smartphones, we are losing our ability to socialize. However, reading had led to the formation of book clubs and other forums where we get a chance to share and interact with others.

Broadens horizons

By reading books, you get a glimpse of other cultures and places. Books expand your horizons, letting you see other countries, other people and so many other things you have never seen or imagined. It’s the perfect way to visit a strange country in your mind. When we open a book while sitting in the comfort of our rooms, like time travelling, we transport our imaginations to a world purely based on the imaginations of the author. We learn about everything they wants u to know, see the world through their eyes and their perspective, learn about new people, discover their traditions, cultures and all that makes them unique and unforgettable.

Improves writing skills

Reading a well-written book affects your ability to become a better writer. Just like artists influence others, so do writers. Many successful authors gained their expertise by reading the works of others. Kids who learn to read also tend to develop better writing skills. The reason: they have been introduced to a world where words are their main weapon and they are free to shoot out. Literally! Parents must try to develop an interest for writing. Kids with good writing skills don’t fall victim to cramming and can express themselves more candidly through their words.

Improves focus and concentration

In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we multi-task through every day. In a single 5-minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people (via gchat, skype, etc.), keeping an eye on twitter, monitoring their smartphone, and interacting with co-workers. This type of ADD-like behavior causes stress levels to rise, and lowers our productivity. When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story—the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing. Try reading for 15-20 minutes before work (i.e. on your morning commute, if you take public transit), and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the office or school.

Makes you more empathetic

According to studies, losing yourself in books, especially fiction, might increase your empathy. In a study conducted in the Netherlands, researchers showed that people who were “emotionally transported” by a work of fiction experienced a boost in empathy. By reading a book, you become part of the story and feel the pain and other emotions of the characters. This in turn allows your mind to become more aware of how different things affect other people. Eventually, this improves your ability to emphasize with other people.

It develops emotions

When you read a book, you are on the receiving end of knowledge. The sender, the writer is delivering a message, imparting something of value, a fact, an opinion, a view or at the very least an emotion. They are inviting you into their own psyche and hoping that you will care enough to listen and respond to it. So it won’t be wrong to say that reading actually flexes emotions. It builds a connection between the reader and the writer you have never met or known before. Even if you disagree with what they are delivering, you get to know them, and you connect to them on an emotional level.

Readers are leaders

Although not definitively proved, but almost all great leaders were readers. One reason they are respected and known for their wisdom is because they develop a healthy reading habit. For centuries, reading has been the source of inspiration, growth and new ideas. It is a valuable investment in one’s own personality with uncountable and long-lasting benefits. If you want your child to become one, you need to encourage him to read. It will keep his mind healthy and productive. Only then they will be able to impact the world in a better way.

Learn at your own pace

Another benefit of reading a book is that you learn at your own pace. Since you have the book all the time, you can always go back to a section you feel you don’t understand. You can re-read a chapter as many times as you wish, without worry that you will miss out a section. If it’s a self-help book, you can tackle one issue at a time. Once you handle one problem, then you can move to the next issue whenever you feel you’re ready. Everything is done at your own pace and most importantly, your mind is free to interpret things the way you feel.

Reading books also reduces stress, helps you sleep better, improves health, develops your imagination and above all: it is just fun to do. Reading has a tremendous effect in fueling all aspects of our personality and enhancing our linguistic prowess. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the entirety of human life depends on it. Whatever we grow up to become in our lives, no matter where we stand, reading has somehow shaped it.

source listings: 23 Reasons Why You Need To Encourage Kids To Read by Serious Reading https://seriousreading.com/blog/1001-23-reasons-why-you-need-to-encourage-kids-to-read.html 30 Reasons to Read Books by Serious Reading https://seriousreading.com/blog/283-30-reasons-to-read-books.html 12 Reasons Why You Should Read More Books by Georgette Rivera https://www.theodysseyonline.com/12-reasons-should-read 10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day by Lana Winter-Hébert https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-benefits-reading-why-you-should-read-everyday.html

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Teaching English: The Five Essential Components of Reading

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Learning to read is a complex process made up of five key components, which means  teaching reading essentials  is also a complex task. The  five essential reading components  are identified as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Together, these components form the foundation for good reading skills and are essential for helping young children become proficient readers. 

A student’s ability to read has a vast impact on their life that goes far beyond the classroom setting. Therefore, implementing research-based reading instruction is vital for student success. According to the  National Reading Panel , “There is a growing body of research that shows correlations between aspects of formal teacher preparation and quality of teaching or student outcomes.” Teachers are an important factor in student success, and equipping teachers with general methods and strategy instruction is also important for institutions to remember when considering  professional development  opportunities. 

There is a science of reading that must be taken into consideration when addressing reading instruction. Each grade level of reading comes with its own intricacies and challenges, and therefore different ages, abilities, and approaches must be taken into consideration. Institutions such as the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Reading Panel have looked at decades of research on reading to provide their findings on the best teaching methods.  Learning Point Associates  reported, “Scientific research reviewed by the National Reading Panel revealed that these different approaches or methods of teaching the five essential components are not equally effective. The most reliably effective approach is called systematic and explicit instruction.” Through both explicit instruction and frequent opportunities to practice and apply reading skills, teachers can help develop stronger readers and therefore stronger learners.

1. Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness  is the ability to recognize and manipulate the individual sounds, or phonemes, in spoken words. It is an important skill for learning to read and spell, as it helps children understand that spoken words are made up of a series of smaller sounds that can be blended together to form words.

A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word that can change the meaning of the word. For example, the word “bat” has three phonemes: /b/, /a/, and /t/. If you change the first phoneme to /s/, the word becomes “sat.” If you change the first phoneme to /m/, the word becomes “mat.” Phonemes are represented by letters in the alphabet, but they are not the same as letters. For example, the letter “b” can represent multiple phonemes, such as /b/ in “bat” and /b/ in “bebop.”

The Importance of Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is essential for forming reading skills because it helps children understand that spoken words consist of smaller sounds, or phonemes, that can form words when blended together. This understanding is crucial for learning to read, as it allows children to connect the sounds of spoken language to the letters of the alphabet and blend those sounds together to read words.

If a student does not develop a good understanding of phonemes and how they affect language, it can make it difficult for them to learn to read and spell words accurately. It can also make it challenging to understand the relationships between words and use phonemic awareness to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words. Ultimately, a lack of phonemic awareness can have a negative impact on a student’s reading and spelling skills and their overall language development.

How to Effectively Teach Phonemic Awareness

  • Rhyming games: Play games that involve rhyming words, such as “I'm thinking of a word that rhymes with ‘cat.’ Can you guess what it is?”
  • Phoneme segmentation: Teach children to break words into their individual sounds by clapping, saying, or writing out the phonemes in a word. For example, the word “cat” has three phonemes: /c/, /a/, and /t/.
  • Phoneme isolation: Help children identify the individual phonemes in a word by asking them to say the first, middle, or last sound in a word. For example, you could ask a child to say the first sound in the word “cat.”
  • Phoneme manipulation: Play games that involve changing the phonemes in words to make new words. For example, you could ask a child to change the first phoneme in the word “cat” to /m/ to make the word “mat.”

2. Phonics 

The Hechinger Report  once stated, “Schools too often leave out a key piece of the reading puzzle because teachers aren’t trained to teach phonics.” Phonics instruction often gets overlooked or filed under the previous component of “phonemic awareness.” Instead, phonics must be broken down and given its own place in explicit instruction for students. 

Phonics is a method of teaching reading that focuses on the relationships between the sounds of spoken language and the letters that represent those sounds in written language. It involves teaching children to blend the sounds of individual letters or letter groups together to read words. Graphemes are these letters or groups of letters that represent the sounds or phonemes in spoken language. For example, the letter “b” represents the phoneme /b/ in the word “bat,” and the grapheme “sh” represents the phoneme /sh/ in the word “ship.”

These graphemes and phonemes in phonics instruction are often considered the mechanics of reading instruction. Students must learn the mechanics first before they can truly begin reading. One  theoretical review  put it this way: “If they are taught to read before they have learned the mechanics—the sounds of the letters—it is like learning to drive by starting your car and driving ahead.”

The Importance of Phonics

Phonics is essential to forming reading skills because it helps children understand the relationships between the sounds of spoken language and the letters that represent those sounds in written language. By learning to match the sounds they hear in spoken words to the letters they see in written words, children are able to decode unfamiliar words and read them aloud. This process of decoding helps children develop their reading fluency and understand the meanings of the words they are reading.

If a student does not develop a good understanding of phonics, it can make it difficult for them to learn to read and spell words accurately. They may struggle to match the sounds they hear in spoken words to the letters they see in written words, which can make it challenging to decode unfamiliar words and read with fluency. This can also make it difficult to understand the meanings of the words they are reading and use phonics to figure out the pronunciations of unfamiliar words.

The connection between the written word and spoken language is essential for understanding how phonics works. When children learn to read using phonics, they are learning to match the graphemes they see in written words to the phonemes they hear in spoken words. This helps them to understand written language is a representation of spoken language and the letters of the alphabet correspond to the sounds of spoken language.

How to Effectively Teach Phonics

  • Begin with letter-sound correspondences: Teach children the sounds that each letter of the alphabet represents and how those sounds can be blended together to form words.
  • Use decodable texts: Use books and other texts that are specifically designed to help children practice their decoding skills. These texts typically contain only words that can be sounded out using the phonics skills that have been taught.
  • Practice blending sounds: Help children practice blending the sounds of individual letters together to read words. This can be done through games and activities such as “Sound Bingo” and “Mystery Word.”
  • Use word families: Group words with similar phonetic patterns together and have children practice reading and spelling words within each group. For example, words like “cat,” “bat,” and “rat” belong to the “at” word family.

3. Reading Fluency

Effective reading instruction will involve a strong focus on reading fluency, which is the ability to read text accurately, smoothly, and with expression. When students can read fluently, it allows them to read text quickly and easily, which frees up their mental energy to focus on understanding the meaning of the words they are reading. Along with explicit reading fluency instruction, frequent oral reading will allow students to practice the skills learned within a reading program. 

Reading fluency  involves the use of decoding skills, which are the skills that children use to match the letters (or graphemes) they see in written words to the sounds (phonemes) they hear in spoken words. These skills are important because they allow children to decode unfamiliar words and read them aloud accurately. 

Decoding skills can affect reading comprehension in a number of ways. If a child has strong decoding skills, they are more likely to be able to read unfamiliar words accurately and read with fluency, which can make it easier for them to understand the meaning of the words they are reading. On the other hand, if a child struggles with decoding, it can make it difficult for them to read unfamiliar words accurately and to read with fluency, which can make it harder to comprehend the meaning of the words they are reading.

The Importance of Reading Fluency

Reading fluency is essential to forming reading skills because it allows children to read text with ease and eloquence. When children can read fluently, they are able to comprehend text quickly and effortlessly, allowing them to focus their mental energy on understanding the content.

If a student does not develop good reading fluency, it can make it difficult for them to read text automatically, which can make it harder to comprehend the meaning of the words they are reading. They may struggle to read text accurately, which can lead to misunderstandings and difficulty following the story or information in the text. They may also struggle to read text with expression, which can make it less enjoyable and engaging. A lack of reading fluency can have a negative impact on a student’s overall reading skills, understanding of a passage, and enjoyment of reading.

How to Effectively Teach Reading Fluency

  • Repeated reading: Have students read a passage several times in a row, with the goal of increasing their speed and accuracy. This can be done individually or in small groups. This can also be done silently or as oral reading. Silent reading allows students to focus on their own reading skills and practice reading at their own pace. Reading aloud allows students to practice reading with expression and get feedback on their fluency from the teacher and their classmates. 
  • Choral reading: Have students read a passage together as a class with the teacher leading and the students following. This can help to model good fluency and can be a fun and engaging activity.
  • Timed readings: Have students read a passage for a set amount of time, such as one minute, and then record their words per minute (WPM) score. 

4. Vocabulary Development

Vocabulary development is the process of learning new words and increasing one’s understanding of their meanings. It is an important component of reading because a strong vocabulary is essential for good reading comprehension. When children are exposed to a rich vocabulary, they are able to better understand the words they are reading and make connections between new words and their prior knowledge.

Systemic vocabulary development  is crucial within a school system because it is an ongoing process that occurs throughout a person’s lifetime. Students must continue to learn new vocabulary and expand their understanding of the meanings of those words to improve their reading comprehension and overall language skills, just as adults will continue to come across unfamiliar words in their day-to-day life that they must decipher. 

The Importance of Vocabulary Development

Vocabulary development is essential to forming reading skills because it helps children understand the meanings of the words they are reading and make connections between new words and their pre-existing knowledge. When children have a rich vocabulary, they are able to better comprehend the text they are reading and make sense of new and unfamiliar words.

If a student does not develop a wide vocabulary, it can make it difficult for them to understand the meanings of the words they are reading and make connections between new words and their prior knowledge. This can make it harder to comprehend the text and make sense of new and unfamiliar words. A lack of vocabulary can also make it more difficult for children to express themselves and communicate effectively with others.

Vocabulary development is important for both reading fluency and reading comprehension. When children have a strong vocabulary, they are more likely to read text fluently, as they are able to better decode unfamiliar words and read with expression. A strong vocabulary also helps children comprehend the meaning of the words they are reading and make sense of the text as a whole, which is essential for good reading comprehension. 

How to Effectively Teach Vocabulary Development

  • Direct vocabulary instruction: Teach children the meanings of specific words and how they are used in different contexts. This can be done through activities such as sight words, word sorts, vocabulary lists, word maps, and word walls.
  • Contextualized instruction: Help children learn new words by providing them with context clues, such as definitions, synonyms, and examples. This can help children understand the meanings of words in the context of the text they are reading.
  • Word study: Teach children about the different parts of words, such as prefixes, suffixes, and roots, and how these parts can change the meanings of words. This can help children understand how words are related and learn new words more easily.
  • Word associations: Help children make connections between new words and their prior knowledge by encouraging them to think about how the new words are similar to or different from other words they know.

5. Reading Comprehension

According to an article published by the  Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences , “Reading comprehension is one of the most complex cognitive activities in which humans engage, making it difficult to teach, measure, and research.” When put like this, we can see the vast importance of reading comprehension. The ability to understand and make sense of written text must be explicitly taught from a young age. After all, reading comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading instruction and encompasses all the previous reading components that have been discussed. When students have good reading comprehension, they are able to understand the meaning of the words they are reading and make connections between the text and their prior knowledge. There is a “ layered nature of impactful  comprehension instruction ” that can be seen throughout our discussion of these five essential components of reading. It is complex, and it is crucial.

According to  The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) , “In 2022, the average reading score at both fourth and eighth grade decreased by three points compared to 2019.” While three points may not seem like a huge shift, this could be evidence of the importance of in-person instruction that was not consistent for a few years during the global pandemic. Educators and institutions must refocus on the significance of direct reading comprehension. 

The Importance of Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is essential to forming reading skills because it allows children to understand the meaning of the words they are reading and make connections between the text and their prior knowledge. When children have good reading comprehension, they are able to make sense of written text, which is essential for learning and communication.

If a student does not develop good reading comprehension skills, it can make it difficult for them to not only understand the meaning of the words they are reading but also for them to engage with the material and learn new information. A lack of reading comprehension skills can also make it more challenging for children to express themselves and communicate effectively with others.

Because reading comprehension is so important for students, teachers should have more  professional development  opportunities to foster a deeper knowledge of impactful literacy instruction. There is a need for  research-based literacy professional development  that aligns the science of reading with students and the way they best learn to read. 

How to Effectively Teach Reading Comprehension

  • Previewing: Have students preview the text by looking at the title, headings, and illustrations to get a sense of what the text is about.
  • Asking questions: Encourage students to ask questions about the text as they read to help them make connections and better understand the meaning of the words.
  • Making predictions: Have students make predictions about what they think will happen next in the text to help them engage with the material and make connections between the text and their prior knowledge.
  • Summarizing: Have students summarize the main ideas of the text to help them understand the key points and make connections between the text and their pre-existing knowledge.

Teaching children to read involves several different components, and each component has an essential role in the learning process. Young readers may experience reading difficulties in any one of these areas, so knowing the aspects of each is vital to creating effective reading instruction that meets the needs of each individual student.  Voyager Sopris Learning ®  has science of reading-aligned solutions and  interventions  to help with teaching these essential components of reading.

  • Classroom Activities/Strategies/Guides

Differentiated Teaching

Differentiated Teaching

The 5 Key Components of Effective Reading Instruction

These days, there's a lot of conversation about teaching reading. In fact, some have argued that we're seeing a resurgence of the Reading Wars that were so heated in the 1980s and 1990s. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it's important that all of us understand the foundational components of reading. That's because while there is still some disagreement about the best way to teach reading, most experts agree that there are five essential pieces to effective reading instruction :

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Comprehension

5 Components of Effective Reading Instruction

Whether you're new to teaching or just trying to brush up on the basics, here's a quick overview of each of these five components and some basics of what they might look like when you are teaching them to upper elementary learners.

What you'll find on this page:

Teaching Reading in Upper Elementary and Beyond – the 5 Core Parts of Every Lesson

When teaching reading in upper elementary, you'll want to ensure that your instruction contains all five of these essential components. While the balance may shift depending on what you're working on in a particular lesson, all five should be represented every time. Let's take a closer look at each one.

1. Phonemic Awareness 

Phonemic awareness is the understanding that spoken language is made up of smaller units of sound called phonemes. These skills include identifying and producing individual sounds (phonemes), blending sounds together to make words, and segmenting words into their individual sounds.

Explicit instruction in phonemic awareness helps students understand that spoken words are made up of small units of sound and lays the foundation for later phonics instruction. This instruction is typically low-prep and easy to incorporate into your lesson plan because it is done orally and should only take a few minutes at most.

While often considered important at the primary level, phonemic awareness is also a critical component of reading instruction for older struggling readers and ESL students. Many research studies have shown that explicit phonemic awareness instruction can improve reading skills for these groups of students.

Meaningful Phonemic Awareness Activities for Older Learners:

Say a word. Have students repeat this word. Then have them repeat it again, but delete or replace a phoneme. For example, early in the year might say something like. “Say tray. Now say tray again but without the /t/.”

Later on, this task can be made more complex by having students substitute vowel sounds or work with multisyllabic words.

2. Phonics 

Phonics is the relationship between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language. Students who receive explicit instruction in phonics learn how to decode unfamiliar words by sounding them out. A strong foundation in phonics is essential for young readers as it enables them to read independently. Phonics is also a foundational piece of the puzzle for advancing readers as they work to tackle more difficult texts filled with multi-syllable words.

Initially, phonics begins with the basics of short and long vowels. As students progress, they learn about more advanced concepts such as blends, digraphs, and diphthongs. In later grades, syllable division is a core part of phonics instruction to help students decode multi-syllable words.

Phonics Activities for Older Learners:

Have students sort words by the phonics principle you are working on, or have them practice sorting words by syllable type. This can include coding words for vowels and consonants to help identify open and closed syllables.

3. Fluency 

Fluency is the ability to read text quickly, accurately, and with appropriate expression. When students are fluent readers, they can focus their attention on comprehension rather than decoding each word individually. Fluency, therefore, is developed in concert with strong decoding skills.

Fluency instruction typically begins in the primary grades with students learning basic strategies such as reading with expression and using a finger to keep track of words as they read. As students become more proficient readers, they can move beyond these basic strategies and develop more sophisticated fluency skills such as rereading difficult sections and self-monitoring for errors.

choral reading

Fluency-Building Activities for Older Learners:

To help students develop fluency, provide them with opportunities to read aloud regularly. Choral reading , partner reading, and repeated reading are great ways to improve fluency. 

However, when targeting fluency, it is always important to be sure accuracy is solid first. This means students shouldn't be working on fluency before they have the pre-requisite decoding skills necessary to read the given text. A diagnostic assessment can be a great tool to gather more data if unsure.

4. Vocabulary 

A student’s vocabulary knowledge has a direct impact on their reading comprehension. Students with a large vocabulary can understand and process what they read more effectively than students with a limited vocabulary.

Not surprisingly, vocabulary is often a barrier to student success in reading and academics. To close the vocabulary gap, students need direct and explicit instruction in vocabulary development. This instruction should include opportunities for students to learn about word meanings, study morphology, practice using new words in context, and play word games.

it is essential reading

To build students’ vocabulary knowledge, provide them with opportunities to hear and see new words in various contexts. Reading aloud frequently , using picture books, and discussing new words during class are also all great ways to expose students to new vocabulary. However, most students will need more explicit instruction to master these words.

Vocabulary Boosting Activities for Upper Elementary & Beyond:

There are many great ways to incorporate vocabulary instruction into your lessons. One of the most important things your learners need is multiple exposures to the same word.

Word sorts, dictionary work, and creating word walls are all great activities that help students learn new words. However, they'll only work when paired with targeted vocabulary instruction that moves students from recognition toward actually using these words in context.

5. Comprehension 

Reading comprehension is the ability to understand and make meaning from what you read. Good comprehenders are active readers who use a variety of strategies to interact with the text they are reading. Reading comprehension can only occur when students have strong decoding skills and at least some fluency. However, listening comprehension can be developed independently of these skills.

There are a variety of comprehension strategies that students can use to understand their reading better. These include making predictions, questioning, visualizing, determining importance, and synthesizing information. To help students develop these skills, provide them with opportunities to practice using each strategy through modeled, guided, and independent reading experiences.

Supporting Students in Developing Reading Comprehension Skills:

To help students develop reading comprehension, provide your learners opportunities to practice using strategies using authentic fiction and nonfiction texts, such as timely articles or developmentally appropriate novels.

Question stems , modeling these strategies for students, and giving them ample time to practice using them will help them internalize the strategies. This, in turn, will help them automatically apply them to independent reading.

In addition, provide opportunities for students to practice these strategies independently or in small groups by completing graphic organizers or writing summaries after they finish reading a text. You can plan these activities into a book club or novel study .

character traits graphic organizer

Effective reading instruction makes a world of difference for all readers.

However, it is especially critical for those who struggle. Research suggests that quality reading instruction can close the achievement gap for struggling readers. But what does quality reading instruction look like?

In my opinion, it's quite clear! Following the Science of Reading is important for all students, but it can change the academic picture for those at risk for reading difficulties. Effective reading instruction includes explicit and direct instruction in the five essential components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

By incorporating all five components into your reading instruction—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension—you will set ALL students up for success!

it is essential reading

it is essential reading

REAP improves reading proficiency in public school students through teacher training and enrichment

Reap: reading is essential for all people.

REAP was born out of a passion to help struggling readers. Jennifer and Jeremy Rhett are the parents of dyslexic children, and they felt the need to use their small business to give back to the community, specifically struggling readers. Carla Stanford—friend, neighbor and a public school teacher for 20 years—worried over the young readers who moved from grade to grade without acquiring the solid reading skills they would need to succeed with school and a career.

Their friendship and shared passions led the three to create REAP. They knew that with the right tools in their teaching toolbox our dedicated public school teachers could make good readers great readers, and struggling readers into strong readers.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Reading is Essential for All People Inc. as a Section 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.

it is essential reading

Sponsors & Partners: check sponsors, partner, collaborators and friends of REAP.

CertaPro Painters of Atlanta assists with REAP’s operating costs so that 100% of individual donations go directly to public school teacher training.

Who is REAP?

Jennifer Rhett is a mother of three, a small business owner, and the Executive Director of Reading is Essential for All People (REAP). Jennifer co-founded REAP in 2013 after discovering that 32% of 4 th graders in GA are not able to read at a basic level. She serves on the board of the National Coalition for Reading Excellence and works with organizations across the country to bring a stronger foundation of reading instruction to public school teachers. Jennifer currently resides in Decatur, Georgia and has been working closely with educators and volunteers to improve reading proficiency in public school students across Metro Atlanta.

Carla Stanford co-founded REAP in 2013 as a way to help all children learn to read. She has been educating children for 20 years. Carla’s special passion is unlocking the potential within struggling readers and developing the love of reading in all the children she teaches.

Several years ago, after earning “Teacher of the Year” in her school district, Carla used her award money to pay her tuition for specialized training in the foundations of reading (Orton-Gillingham). Right away she witnessed the positive impact this teaching methodology had on her students, and she truly understands its value and its potential. As a fellow educator, Carla knows that public school teachers work very hard to reach all their readers, especially those who struggle. She wants all public school teachers to have the opportunity to take part in this valuable training so they can have the tools to make all their students stronger, more confident readers.

Carla formerly served as the Director of Education for REAP and is currently serving as a consultant and board member while she pursues a doctorate in California.

Surrounded by struggling readers his entire life, Jeremy recognized at a young age that 1980’s educators were not equipped with the proper tools for all learning styles. As a father of three he was surprised to learn that 21st century teachers are still having difficulties reaching many of their students.

As a CertaPro Painters franchise owner, Jeremy attended the 2013 national CertaPro conference and was inspired by its message: use your business to drive a personal passion in your community. He and wife, Jen, spent the eight-hour return trip from the conference crafting the plan for REAP. With the support of reading specialist Carla Stanford, the three immediately began their mission to impact reading instruction on a large scale. Jeremy serves on the board of REAP and continues to lead the CertaPro Painters business, which covers part of the operating expenses for REAP.

Info coming soon.

Susan has a long-standing track record of working on behalf of public-school children. She is a member of the Georgia State Advisory Panel for Special Education, which advises the Georgia Department of Education Divisions for Special Education Services and Supports on the provision of special education and related services for students with disabilities. Susan also serves as the Special Education Committee Chair for E. Rivers Elementary, an Atlanta Public School.  Susan is a classically-trained chef, and has leveraged that knowledge and experience on behalf of children and families facing food-security issues through Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry initiative.

REAP Timeline

  • Friends Jeremy Rhett, Jennifer Rhett, and Carla Stanford, worry over reading proficiency in public school students.

October 2012

  • Carla takes a class in the Orton-Gillingham Approach to reading instruction and begins successfully implementing the strategies in her 1 st grade public school classrooms.

January 2013

  • Jeremy, Jen, and Carla realize the best way to reach struggling readers is through their most valuable resource—their teachers.
  • REAP is born!
  • REAP will fund training for public school teachers in the foundations of reading instruction, specifically multisensory, systematic, and direct phonics instruction.

February – April 2013

  • REAP receives 35 applications from public school teachers, and partners with the Decatur Education Foundation and IDA-GA to fund the training for 12 public school teachers.
  • REAP partners with The Schenck School to provide the training using nationally recognized experts.

February 2014

  • REAP receives over 100 applications and raises over $95,000.
  • REAP partners with The Swift School and GeorgiaETA to provide additional nationally recognized instructors for the training.
  • 74 public school teachers enter the training program.

December 2014

  • REAP joins the national organization Coalition for Reading Excellence.

Winter 2014-15

  • REAP for Roswell, a committee developed to raise funds for training teachers in Roswell and throughout Fulton County, kicks off the year by hosting an awareness event and raising funds to train teachers in Roswell and Fulton County schools.

Spring 2015

  • Teachers are overwhelmingly thrilled with the training and the results they are seeing in the classroom with typical, advanced, and struggling readers.
  • REAP receives 216 applications for training and accepts 94 teachers.
  • REAP begins shoulder-to-shoulder coaching and modeling to further the development of teachers already trained.

Reading is Essential for All People is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving reading proficiency in public school students through teacher training and enrichment. REAP provides public school teachers with specialized training that reinforces the foundations of reading. These training approaches are helpful for any child, in any classroom, small group, or one-on-one situation, and are especially critical for struggling readers. REAP is located in Decatur, Georgia.

Copyright 2023 by REAP: Reading is Essential for All People

website design and maintenance provided pro bono by Eve Wyatt

Why Trump’s Sleaziest Criminal Case Is So Important

A porn star, hush money, alleged infidelity—this is trump at his trumpiest..

David Corn

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Donald Trump appears at a Manhattan criminal court on February 15, 2024, for a hearing in his porn-star/hush-money case. Brendan McDermid/AP

Editor’s note:  The below article first appeared  in David Corn’s newsletter,  Our Land . The newsletter   comes out twice a week (most of the time) and provides behind-the-scenes stories and articles about politics, media, and culture. Subscribing costs just $5 a month—but you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of  Our Land  here .

Since the beginning of Donald Trump’s indictment-o-rama, the politerati have considered the criminal case filed in New York City against the former president by District Attorney Alvin Bragg to be a sideshow. Though this case has key elements of a bona fide scandal—porn star! hush money! alleged extramarital affair!—pundits and politicos have struck a dismissive attitude toward Trump’s Stormy Daniels mess and the legal peril it poses him. Perhaps because it’s not as weighty a matter as swiping top-secret documents or attempting to overturn an election by subverting the constitutional order of the republic. Also perhaps because this caper involves the less-sexy charge of falsifying business records to hide a possible violation of election law. Bor -ing, right?

Yet on Thursday, a New York City judge  kicked aside  a Trump motion to cancel the prosecution and set a trial date for March 25. Presuming there are no postponements in this case, this means the first criminal trial of a former president will focus on Trump’s effort to pay off an adult movie actor in the weeks before the 2016 election. Up to now, the presumption was that special counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case against Trump would come before a jury first, with Smith’s stolen-documents case, the Georgia RICO case, and the Bragg case lagging behind. But Trump has successfully delayed the two Smith trials with assorted motions and maneuvers, and the Georgia case has hit its own snag, as District Attorney Fani Willis has had to defend herself against the allegation that her romantic relationship with a fellow prosecutor working on the case somehow amounts to a conflict of interest.

It might be fitting that the sleaziest case will go first. But this prosecution ought not to be diminished. It also involves alleged criminal actions taken to influence an election—or prevent an election from being influenced by Daniels’ claim that Trump had a tryst with her at a 2006 charity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe while his wife, Melania, was home with 4-month-old Barron. And here’s an important fact: The Justice Department and a federal court have already declared that a crime occurred in the commission of this $130,000 payoff.

Those of you who might need a refresher course in the Trump-Daniels Affair are fortunate. About a year ago, I published a comprehensive rundown of this nasty business based on court records and public accounts. If you believe possessing a thorough knowledge of all this will impress your friends, you should  read this article . But for our purposes now, you only need to recall this: Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to arranging the bribe paid to Daniels, and he was sent to the hoosegow for that and other infractions of the law. That is, a crime did happen. The question now is whether Trump will be held accountable for it.

It’s tough to keep track of all of Trump’s legal woes. But you might remember that when the feds were prosecuting Cohen, they referred to Trump as “Individual-1” in their court filings. In the sentencing memo that the US attorney’s office filed in December 2018 after Cohen pleaded guilty to making an illegal campaign contribution with the Daniels payment and to other unrelated charges, the prosecutors stated that regarding that payoff to Daniels, Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1.”

Trump’s Justice Department said the hush-money payment was a federal crime, and its prosecutors declared in an official proceeding that Trump had been a co-conspirator and caused this crime to be committed. Yet nothing happened to Trump. Cohen was shipped off to federal prison in upstate New York to serve two and a half years.

This episode raised the question of high-level corruption. Following the resolution of Cohen’s case, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York intended to continue investigating the matter, which could have included further probing Trump’s role. But in his book,  Holding the Line , Geoffrey Berman, who served as the US attorney for the Southern District, revealed that Bill Barr, who became attorney general around this time, tried to kill “the ongoing investigation”—and that Barr in a “highly unusual” move suggested that Cohen’s conviction be reversed. Berman wondered if Barr’s goal was “to ensure that the president could not be charged after leaving office.”

It was classic: The boss got off; the lieutenant did the time. Bragg seeks to remedy this unfairness. Legal experts will tell you that the case—with its  34 felony counts  of falsifying business records to hide the $130,000 payment—is not a slam dunk. But it is important. As Norm Eisen, a former Obama White House counsel, puts it, “It is really an election interference case—the gateway drug to what later developed with election interference in 2020.” And in the aftermath of Trump’s $83 million loss in the sexual assault and defamation civil case brought against him by E. Jean Carroll, a trial that showcases Trump’s alleged infidelity could reinforce negative attitudes about his personal conduct.

And there’s more: This is a state prosecution, not a federal affair. Should Trump be convicted in this case, he could not pardon himself if he were to return to the White House. Nor could he order this case shut down were it to last that long due to appeals. One wonders what might happen if Trump is sentenced to prison and he wins the election. Will he defy the New York legal system? Will marshals from the Empire State seek to haul him in and find themselves in a standoff with Secret Service agents? As bizarre as the Trump years have been, they can become wilder.

While it made sense for Smith to go first with a trial related to Trump’s effort to end American democracy, that’s not what’s in the script now. The hush-money case, which forces Americans to once more confront Trump’s scuzziness, ought not to be scoffed at. It reveals so much about the man: his phoniness, his personal dishonesty, his hypocrisy, his corruption. Of his many alleged crimes, it may not be the greatest. But it may be the Trumpiest.

David Corn’s  American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy ,   a  New York Times  bestseller, has been released in a new and expanded paperback edition. 

Close-up black and white photo of Donald Trump with his lips pursed, frowning.

The NY Judge Just Ordered Trump to Pay $355 Million and Stop Doing Business in the State

it is essential reading

The Full Stormy Hush-Money Tale Features Plenty of Witnesses Who Could Be Trouble for Trump

Smoky air and a boy and man, hand in hand, running

At the UN, the US Vetoes a Ceasefire Resolution—and Proposes Another One

Jacob Rosenberg

it is essential reading

The Long Era of Republican Gerrymandering in Wisconsin May Finally Be Over

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Biden Blames Putin for Aleksei Navalny’s Death, Urges Ukraine Funding

Abby Vesoulis

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Leslie Jamison on Finding “Infinitude” in Motherhood

Sophie Murguia

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This Week’s Episode of Reveal: Journalism and Protest at the Dawn of AIDS

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Shoebox Lady Is Not Alone—Americans Got Scammed for More Than $10 Billion in 2023

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Another Big Question About AI: Its Carbon Footprint

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Report: Trump-Branded NYC Real Estate Plummeted in Value Since 2016

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Reagan’s Daughter: Cognitive Tests For Presidential Candidates Would Be ‘A Good Idea’

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Trump Supporters Are Donating to a GoFundMe To Pay His $355 Million Legal Fine

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Black History Month: What is it and why is it important?

Black History Month - A visitor at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

Black History Month is an opportunity to understand Black histories. Image:  Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

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Stay up to date:, economic progress.

This article was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated .

  • A continued engagement with history is vital as it helps give context for the present.
  • Black History Month is an opportunity to understand Black histories, going beyond stories of racism and slavery to spotlight Black achievement.
  • This year's theme is African Americans and the Arts.

February is Black History Month. This month-long observance in the US and Canada is a chance to celebrate Black achievement and provide a fresh reminder to take stock of where systemic racism persists and give visibility to the people and organizations creating change. Here's what to know about Black History Month and how to celebrate it this year:

Have you read?

Black history month: key events in a decade of black lives matter, here are 4 ways businesses can celebrate black history month, how did black history month begin.

Black History Month's first iteration was Negro History Week, created in February 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, known as the "father of Black history." This historian helped establish the field of African American studies and his organization, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History , aimed to encourage " people of all ethnic and social backgrounds to discuss the Black experience ".

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.” ― Carter G. Woodson

His organization was later renamed the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and is currently the oldest historical society established for the promotion of African American history.

Why is Black History Month in February?

February was chosen by Woodson for the week-long observance as it coincides with the birthdates of both former US President Abraham Lincoln and social reformer Frederick Douglass. Both men played a significant role in helping to end slavery. Woodson also understood that members of the Black community already celebrated the births of Douglass and Lincoln and sought to build on existing traditions. "He was asking the public to extend their study of Black history, not to create a new tradition", as the ASALH explained on its website.

How did Black History Month become a national month of celebration?

By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil-rights movement and a growing awareness of Black identity, Negro History Week was celebrated by mayors in cities across the country. Eventually, the event evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History month. In his speech, President Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.

Since his administration, every American president has recognized Black History Month and its mission. But it wasn't until Congress passed "National Black History Month" into law in 1986 that many in the country began to observe it formally. The law aimed to make all Americans "aware of this struggle for freedom and equal opportunity".

Why is Black History Month celebrated?

Initially, Black History Month was a way of teaching students and young people about Black and African-Americans' contributions. Such stories had been largely forgotten and were a neglected part of the national narrative.

Now, it's seen as a celebration of those who've impacted not just the country but the world with their activism and achievements. In the US, the month-long spotlight during February is an opportunity for people to engage with Black histories, go beyond discussions of racism and slavery, and highlight Black leaders and accomplishments.

What is this year's Black History Month theme?

Every year, a theme is chosen by the ASALH, the group originally founded by Woodson. This year's theme, African Americans and the Arts .

"In the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, the African American influence has been paramount," the website says.

Is Black History Month celebrated anywhere else?

In Canada, they celebrate it in February. In countries like the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Ireland, they celebrate it in October. In Canada, African-Canadian parliament member Jean Augustine motioned for Black History Month in 1995 to bring awareness to Black Canadians' work.

When the UK started celebrating Black History Month in 1987, it focused on Black American history. Over time there has been more attention on Black British history. Now it is dedicated to honouring African people's contributions to the country. Its UK mission statement is: "Dig deeper, look closer, think bigger".

Why is Black History Month important?

For many modern Black millennials, the month-long celebration for Black History Month offers an opportunity to reimagine what possibilities lie ahead. But for many, the forces that drove Woodson nearly a century ago are more relevant than ever. As Lonnie G. Bunch III, Director of the Smithsonian Institution said at the opening of the Washington D.C.'s National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016: “There is no more powerful force than a people steeped in their history. And there is no higher cause than honouring our struggle and ancestors by remembering".

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Explainer: What is a recession?

Stephen Hall and Rebecca Geldard

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Simon Torkington

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Poll Ranks Biden as 14th-Best President, With Trump Last

President Biden may owe his place in the top third to his predecessor: Mr. Biden’s signature accomplishment, according to the historians, was evicting Donald J. Trump from the Oval Office.

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President Biden standing at the top of the steps leading to Air Force One.

By Peter Baker

Peter Baker has covered the past five presidents, ranked seventh, 12th, 14th, 32nd and 45th in the survey.

President Biden has not had a lot of fun perusing polls lately. He has a lower approval rating than every president going back to Dwight D. Eisenhower at this stage of their tenures, and he trails former President Donald J. Trump in a fall rematch. But Mr. Biden can take solace from one survey in which he is way out in front of Mr. Trump.

A new poll of historians coming out on Presidents’ Day weekend ranks Mr. Biden as the 14th-best president in American history, just ahead of Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan and Ulysses S. Grant. While that may not get Mr. Biden a spot on Mount Rushmore, it certainly puts him well ahead of Mr. Trump, who places dead last as the worst president ever.

Indeed, Mr. Biden may owe his place in the top third in part to Mr. Trump. Although he has claims to a historical legacy by managing the end of the Covid pandemic; rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure; and leading an international coalition against Russian aggression, Mr. Biden’s signature accomplishment, according to the historians, was evicting Mr. Trump from the Oval Office.

“Biden’s most important achievements may be that he rescued the presidency from Trump, resumed a more traditional style of presidential leadership and is gearing up to keep the office out of his predecessor’s hands this fall,” wrote Justin Vaughn and Brandon Rottinghaus, the college professors who conducted the survey and announced the results in The Los Angeles Times .

Mr. Trump might not care much what a bunch of academics think, but for what it’s worth he fares badly even among the self-identified Republican historians. Finishing 45th overall, Mr. Trump trails even the mid-19th-century failures who blundered the country into a civil war or botched its aftermath like James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce and Andrew Johnson.

Judging modern-day presidents, of course, is a hazardous exercise, one shaped by the politics of the moment and not necessarily reflective of how history will look a century from now. Even long-ago presidents can move up or down such polls depending on the changing cultural mores of the times the surveys are conducted.

For instance, Barack Obama, finishing at No. 7 this year, is up nine places since 2015, as is Grant, now ranked 17th. On the other hand, Andrew Jackson has fallen 12 places to 21st while Wilson (15th) and Reagan (16th) have each fallen five places.

At least some of that may owe to the increasing contemporary focus on racial justice. Mr. Obama, of course, was the nation’s first Black president, and Grant’s war against the Ku Klux Klan has come to balance out the corruption of his administration. But more attention today has focused on Jackson’s brutal campaigns against Native Americans and his “Trail of Tears” forced removal of Indigenous communities, and Wilson’s racist views and resegregation of parts of the federal government.

As usual, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson top the list, and historians generally share similar views of many presidents regardless of their own personal ideology or partisan affiliation. But some modern presidents generate more splits among the historians along party lines.

Among Republican scholars, for instance, Reagan finishes fifth, George H.W. Bush 11th, Mr. Obama 15th and Mr. Biden 30th, while among Democratic historians, Reagan is 18th, Mr. Bush 19th, Mr. Obama sixth and Mr. Biden 13th. Other than Grant and Mr. Biden, the biggest disparity is over George W. Bush, who is ranked 19th among Republicans and 33rd among Democrats.

Intriguingly, one modern president who generates little partisan difference is Bill Clinton. In fact, Republicans rank him slightly higher, at 10th, than Democrats do, at 12th, perhaps reflecting some #MeToo era rethinking and liberal unease over his centrist politics.

The survey, conducted by Mr. Vaughn, an associate professor of political science at Coastal Carolina University, and Mr. Rottinghaus, a professor of political science at the University of Houston, was based on 154 responses from scholars across the country.

Peter Baker is the chief White House correspondent for The Times. He has covered the last five presidents and sometimes writes analytical pieces that place presidents and their administrations in a larger context and historical framework. More about Peter Baker

Our Coverage of the 2024 Presidential Election

News and Analysis

Days after the death of the Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny was first reported, Donald Trump broke his silence in a winding social media post   that did not condemn President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

Trump has privately expressed support  for a 16-week national abortion ban  with exceptions — a seeming attempt to satisfy social conservatives who want to further restrict the procedure and voters who want more modest limits.

Despite big losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, and the steep odds  facing her in South Carolina, Nikki Haley says she is going the distance against Trump. Here’s her plan .

Anti-Trump Burnout:  Bracing for yet another election against Trump, Democrats are grappling with fatigue . “We’re kind of, like, crises-ed out,” one voter said.

 On Wall Street:  Investors are already thinking about how financial markets might respond to the outcome of a Biden-Trump rematch , and how they should trade to prepare for it.

Devouring the Establishment:  Long a dominant force over the Republican Party’s institutions, Trump is now moving to fully eradicate their independence  and remake them in his own image as November draws closer.

Letting Insults Fly: Nikki Haley has, until recently, run a fairly positive campaign, even as she has endured relentless criticism from Trump. Her 22-year-old son, Nalin Haley, is not so inclined to pull his punches .

Can Democrats Win Back Latino Men?: A friendship forged in a Las Vegas barbershop offers clues to one of the biggest questions of the presidential election .

High levels of niacin linked to heart disease, new research suggests

High levels of niacin, an essential B vitamin, may raise the risk of heart disease by triggering inflammation and damaging blood vessels, according to new research.

The report, published Monday in Nature Medicine, revealed a previously unknown risk from excessive amounts of the vitamin, which is found in many foods, including meat, fish, nuts, and fortified cereals and breads.

The recommended daily allowance of niacin for men is 16 milligrams per day and for women who are not pregnant is 14 milligrams per day.

About 1 in 4 Americans has higher than the recommended level of niacin , said the study’s senior author, Dr. Stanley Hazen, chair of cardiovascular and metabolic sciences at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute and co-section head of preventive cardiology at the Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute.

The researchers currently don’t know where to draw the line between healthy and unhealthy amounts of niacin, although that may be determined with future research.

"The average person should avoid niacin supplements now that we have reason to believe that taking too much niacin can potentially lead to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease,” Hazen said.

Currently, Americans get plenty of niacin from their diet since flour, grains and cereals have been fortified with niacin since the 1940s after scientists discovered that very low levels of the nutrient could lead to a potentially fatal condition called pellagra, Hazen said.

Prior to the development of cholesterol-lowering statins , niacin supplements were once even prescribed by doctors to improve cholesterol levels.

To search for unknown risk factors for cardiovascular disease, Hazen and his colleagues designed a multipart study that included an analysis of fasting blood samples from 1,162 patients who had come into a cardiology center to be evaluated for heart disease. The researchers were looking for common markers, or signs, in the patients’ blood that might reveal new risk factors. 

The research resulted in the discovery of a substance in some of the blood samples that is only made when there is excess niacin. 

Meat in grocery store

That finding led to two additional “validation” studies, which included data from a total of 3,163 adults who either had heart disease or were suspected of having it. The two investigations, one in the U.S. and one in Europe, showed that the niacin breakdown product, 4PY, predicted participants’ future risk of heart attack, stroke and death.

The final part of the study involved experiments in mice. When the rodents were injected with 4PY, inflammation increased in their blood vessels. 

The results are “fascinating” and “important,” said Dr. Robert Rosenson, director of metabolism and lipids for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

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The newly detected pathway to heart disease might lead to the discovery of a medication that could reduce blood vessel inflammation and decrease the likelihood of major cardiovascular events, he added.

Rosenson hopes that the food industry will take note and “stop using so much niacin in products like bread. This is a case where too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.”

The new information could influence dietary recommendations for niacin, said Rosenson, who was not involved with the Cleveland Clinic research.

Scientists have known for decades that a person’s cholesterol level could be a major driver of heart disease, said Dr. Amanda Doran, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiovascular medicine at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Even when patients’ cholesterol levels were brought down, some continued to have a high risk of heart attacks and stroke, Doran said, adding that a 2017 trial suggested that the increased risk might be related to blood vessel inflammation.

Doran was surprised to learn that niacin could be involved in driving up the risk of heart disease.

“I don’t think anyone would have predicted that niacin would have been pro-inflammatory,” she said. “This is a powerful study because it combines a variety of techniques: clinical data, genetic data and mouse data.”

Finding the new pathway may allow future researchers to discover ways to reduce blood vessel inflammation, Doran said.

“It’s very exciting and promising,” she said.

Linda Carroll is a regular health contributor to NBC News. She is coauthor of "The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic" and "Out of the Clouds: The Unlikely Horseman and the Unwanted Colt Who Conquered the Sport of Kings." 

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5 takeaways from Democrats flipping George Santos' House seat in New York

Domenico Montanaro - 2015

Domenico Montanaro

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Democratic U.S. House candidate Tom Suozzi celebrates his victory in the special election to replace Republican Rep. George Santos on Tuesday in Woodbury, N.Y. Suozzi defeated Republican Mazi Pilip in a closely watched race. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images hide caption

Democratic U.S. House candidate Tom Suozzi celebrates his victory in the special election to replace Republican Rep. George Santos on Tuesday in Woodbury, N.Y. Suozzi defeated Republican Mazi Pilip in a closely watched race.

Republicans were hoping concerns over immigration would put them over the top Tuesday in a closely watched special election in suburban New York to replace the disgraced former Rep. George Santos.

Instead, Democrats parried the attacks and flipped the seat.

Democrats also retained control of the state House in Pennsylvania, holding onto a seat in the Philadelphia suburbs, where the winning candidate campaigned, in part, on abortion rights.

Democrat Suozzi wins special election to replace Santos in New York

Democrat Suozzi wins special election to replace Santos in New York

Both areas lean Democratic, but Republicans were hoping to make inroads. Instead, they're left still trying to find a winning message in the suburbs — and now have an even slimmer House majority in Washington.

Special elections are low-turnout affairs and don't always indicate what will happen in future elections, but there were some important consequences and lessons to draw out of Tuesday's results:

1. Republicans' historically narrow majority got even smaller.

What gets thinner than a whisker? That's essentially Republicans' current majority in the House — only three seats. You think governing has been hard for House Republicans? It just got that much harder.

Republicans see Latino voters in Nevada as key to retaking the White House in 2024

Republicans see Latino voters in Nevada as key to retaking the White House in 2024

2. republicans continue to struggle in the suburbs..

Education, crime and now immigration. None of those issues has really turned the tide for Republicans in the suburbs. With former President Donald Trump as the likely standard bearer again for the party, their job is made even harder. The latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that almost two-thirds of suburban voters have an unfavorable opinion of Trump and, in a head-to-head matchup, Biden leads Trump by 16 points with suburban voters.

If the GOP can't get the message — and the messengers — right, it could prove difficult for them to expand their majority in the House come November as many swing districts are in suburban areas.

Here's what matters to voters — and what could change their minds if it's Biden-Trump

Here's what matters to voters — and what could change their minds if it's Biden-Trump

3. democrats showed they can defend themselves on immigration..

This race was dominated by GOP attacks on immigration. Republicans spent more than $8 million on campaign ads in this race, a huge number for a special congressional election. They hammered Democrat Tom Suozzi on immigration on the airwaves. Republican Mazi Pilip even held rallies near a makeshift tent city in Queens that houses migrants.

It's been a hot-button issue in New York with red-state governors busing migrants who crossed the border illegally to cities run by Democrats, including New York. New York Mayor Eric Adams has criticized the Biden administration on border security, calling on it to do more. Biden gets just a 29% approval for his handling of the issue, and Republicans have a 12-point advantage on which party would do a better job with it, according to the latest NPR poll.

Biden's new move is playing offense on border politics. But will voters be swayed?

Biden's new move is playing offense on border politics. But will voters be swayed?

So it's understandable that Republicans would want to try to use it. But Democrats showed they can defend themselves on this issue – by tacking to the middle. Suozzi said the border needed to be secured, called for a bipartisan compromise and supported the bipartisan congressional deal that was scuttled by Trump and the hard right. Pilip came out against the bill.

4. Abortion rights continue to be something Democrats will run on — with good reason.

In addition to immigration, abortion rights — once again — played a role in Democrats' messaging. Abortion rights and Pilip's ethical record were the main on-air messages that voters saw. Democrats used Pilip saying she is "pro life" and accused her of "running on a platform to ban abortion. No exceptions for rape or incest."

In Pennsylvania, Jim Prokopiak helped Democrats hold onto the Senate with his victory for the legislative seat in Bucks County. And in a statement after his win, he noted the role abortion rights played.

Biden's rough week highlights his biggest vulnerability — one he can't change

Biden's rough week highlights his biggest vulnerability — one he can't change

"What I heard from voters is that Bucks County residents need help supporting their families, want control over their own bodies, and ensure they have the ability to chart their own paths in life," he said.

You don't want to read too much into special elections, but it's been special after special after special that Democrats have won since the Dobbs ruling overturned the guaranteed right to an abortion nearly two years ago.

5. Candidates — and money — do matter.

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Republican U.S. House candidate Mazi Pilip addresses an election-night watch party after losing her race in a special election to replace former Republican Rep. George Santos on Tuesday in East Meadow, N.Y. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

Democrats hammered Pilip's ethics, likening her to Santos. Over Santos' face, this widely run ad begins: "Same story. New name." It then shows Pilip and says she's "about to embarrass us again" and goes on to drop the oppo file about "unpaid bills from her family's business" and that she "also owed more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes to the IRS, even filing a false financial disclosure. ... She's an ethical nightmare."

Suozzi is a known quantity on Long Island. He's a former Nassau County executive and is a former congressman. Democrats essentially billed the race as a moderate, adult in the room vs. an extremist, MAGA candidate.

Sound familiar?

Democrats also outspent Republicans $14 million to $8 million in this race, a massive sum for a special election. In Pennsylvania, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (or DLCC) spent $50,000 to try and hold the state House in Pennsylvania.

That doesn't sound like a lot compared to what was spent in New York, but a little can go a long way in a statehouse race. The DLCC is pledging to spend $60 million in 2024 on statehouse races across the country, the most it ever has.

Money, paired with the right candidates, is usually a recipe for success in politics.


  1. Jim Rohn Quote: “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above

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  2. Jim Rohn Quote: “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above

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  3. Why Is Reading Important?

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  4. The Five Essential Components of Reading

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  5. The 5 Components of Reading Explained

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  6. Jim Rohn Quote: “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above

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  1. Unlocking Reading Skills 1

  2. Reading Basics 01

  3. Text Types and Reading

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  6. Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary


  1. Benefits of Reading Books: For Your Physical and Mental Health

    Reading strengthens your brain A growing body of research indicates that reading literally changes your mind. Using MRI scans, researchers have confirmed that reading involves a complex...

  2. Reading empowers: the importance of reading for students

    Reading empowers: the importance of reading for students Peter Lucantoni Published 6 March 2019 Research shows that students who are reading for pleasure and are reading widely, are more likely to achieve academic success at school and in examinations. Today a reader, tomorrow a leader Margaret Fuller, 19th century American journalist

  3. The Importance of Reading and it's Positive Impacts

    Reading teachers know why reading is important: it is an essential root system from which people can grow, learn and succeed as individuals and employees. 11 Reasons Reading Is Important 1. Helps Understand Instructions. When we can read, we can function safely and effectively in society. We need to read to fill out applications for everything ...

  4. Why is Reading Important? Read More to Live Better

    The Many Benefits of Reading Beyond reading, because you have to, the importance of reading cannot go unnoticed. Reading is of great value because it provides the means by which you get to: Strengthens Brain Activity Reading gets your mind working across different areas. For starters, it involves comprehension to process the words you read.

  5. 9 Benefits of Reading Books: Enhance Your Life Daily (2024)

    Here are 10 benefits of reading that illustrate the importance of reading books. When you read every day you: Gain valuable knowledge. Exercise your brain. Improve your focus. Improve your memory. Enjoy entertainment. Improve your ability to empathize. Improve your communication skills.

  6. The Lifelong Benefits of Reading: How Books Can Transform Your Life

    Research has shown that reading regularly can improve our memory and concentration. When we read, we are required to focus our attention and retain information, exercising our brain in the process. This mental workout not only improves our ability to recall information but also enhances our concentration and attention span in other areas of life.

  7. Essential reading: nine experts on the books that inspired them

    Essential reading: nine experts on the books that inspired them From film to philosophy, from music to history and economics, masters of their crafts pick the five books they could not live...

  8. Learning to Read, Reading to Learn

    Read to children from books with easy-to-read large print. Use stories that have predictable words in the text. Use "big books" to help children notice and learn to recognize words that occur frequently, such as a, the, is, was, and you. Label objects in your classroom. Teach the alphabet

  9. What Is Reading?

    Reading in its fullest sense involves weaving together word recognition and comprehension in a fluent manner. These three processes are complex, and each is important. How complex? Here goes? To develop word recognition, children need to learn: How to break apart and manipulate the sounds in words - this is phonemic awareness

  10. Basics: Reading Comprehension

    Reading comprehension is essential for success in school and in life. It's the foundation for learning in all other subjects." The National Reading Panel Strong readers think actively as they read.

  11. REAP: Reading is Essential for All People

    REAP: Reading is Essential for All People is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving reading proficiency in Georgia public school students. REAP provides public school teachers with specialized training in reading instruction called Structured Literacy.

  12. The importance of reading skills & why is reading important?

    Reading is fundamental in helping us find and convey information. It's an essential skill that's developed at a very young age. Here's why reading is beneficial to all of us, and how the importance of reading comprehension is essential to understanding the world around us.

  13. Effective Reading

    Active reading is the process of engaging with the text as you read. Techniques for making your reading more active include: Underlining or highlighting key phrases as you read. This can be a useful way to remind yourself about what you thought was important when you reread the text later. However, it is important not to highlight too much.

  14. 6 essential skills for reading comprehension

    Here are six essential skills needed for reading comprehension, and tips on what can help kids improve this skill. 1. Decoding. Decoding is a vital step in the reading process. Kids use this skill to sound out words they've heard before but haven't seen written out. The ability to do that is the foundation for other reading skills.

  15. The Importance of Reading

    Knowing the essential vitality and utility of reading in our lives, here are a few of the essential experiences children need to flourish as readers and from the importance of reading and from their earliest years until they leave your home to head out on their own: Let children read.

  16. Importance of reading

    1. Reading improves vocabulary Even as adults, when we read, we come across many new words we never really heard of. And we learn from this. As you read, you come across new words, phrases and writing styles. This is even more so for young people. Children sometimes stumble over their words, do not know how to pronounce them or what they mean.

  17. Teaching English: The Five Essential Components of Reading

    The five essential reading components are identified as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Together, these components form the foundation for good reading skills and are essential for helping young children become proficient readers.

  18. The 5 Key Components of Effective Reading Instruction

    Following the Science of Reading is important for all students, but it can change the academic picture for those at risk for reading difficulties. Effective reading instruction includes explicit and direct instruction in the five essential components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

  19. Reading

    Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, etc., especially by sight or touch.. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography (spelling), alphabetics, phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, and motivation.. Other types of reading and writing, such as pictograms ...

  20. Reading Definition, Process & Strategies

    Reading: Practical Activities. In this lesson, you learned about the fundamental parts of the reading process, as well as important things to look out for like fluency and comprehension.

  21. About Us

    About Us REAP: Reading is Essential for All People REAP was born out of a passion to help struggling readers. Jennifer and Jeremy Rhett are the parents of dyslexic children, and they felt the need to use their small business to give back to the community, specifically struggling readers.

  22. Why Trump's Sleaziest Criminal Case Is So Important

    We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I'm very proud of all the hard work that's gotten us to this moment, and confident that we ...

  23. About Reading: An Introduction

    Good beginning reading instruction teaches children how to identify words, comprehend text, achieve fluency, and develop the motivation to read. Whole language approaches focus on comprehension and meaning, while phonics approaches focus on word identification and decoding or sounding out words. Good reading programs balance or integrate both ...

  24. Black History Month: What is it and why is it important?

    February was chosen by Woodson for the week-long observance as it coincides with the birthdates of both former US President Abraham Lincoln and social reformer Frederick Douglass. Both men played a significant role in helping to end slavery. Woodson also understood that members of the Black community already celebrated the births of Douglass and Lincoln and sought to build on existing traditions.

  25. Poll Ranks Biden as 14th-Best President, With Trump Last

    President Biden may owe his place in the top third to his predecessor: Mr. Biden's signature accomplishment, according to the historians, was evicting Donald J. Trump from the Oval Office.

  26. High levels of niacin may increase heart disease risk: What to know

    High levels of niacin, an essential B vitamin, may raise the risk of heart disease by triggering inflammation and damaging blood vessels, according to new research.

  27. The last agents standing: Essential insights for success in 2024

    Join Inman Access to unlock Renee Funk's insightful class where we take a deep dive into what agents and team leaders should be prioritizing.

  28. 5 takeaways from the results of the New York special election for 2024

    Special elections are low-turnout affairs and don't always indicate what will happen in future elections, but there were some important consequences and lessons to draw out of Tuesday's results: 1.

  29. The Foundations for Reading

    The Foundations for Reading. Reading is a complex and multifaceted process, and children need an approach to learning that integrates many elements. Children who are first learning to read need appropriate help in understanding, learning, and using the spelling-sound conventions of the writing system, as well as opportunities to appreciate the ...