Although the idea of reading for fun may cause some people to laugh aloud and exclaim “in what world is reading fun?”, for many people reading is actually considered to be a very enjoyable and relaxing activity. If you have not found reading to be an enjoyable activity in the past, that doesn’t mean that reading will never be for you! It might just mean that you haven’t found the right book yet.
For many young students, most of their reading experience has come from reading activities in the classroom environment. Due to the fact that teachers are required to go over specific materials with their students, many students may find that what they read in school is simply not very interesting to them. These kinds of feelings might lead students to believe that reading is always a boring activity, which prevents them from ever opening up a book on their own time. Changing the perception that reading is boring could be as easy choosing a book that sounds truly interesting and taking the time to try sitting down with it for half an hour every couple of days.
Why should students try reading for fun?
- Reading helps to build vocabulary.
- Spending time reading will allow students to become more familiar with proper sentence structure and grammar.
- Exposure to different authors and writing styles gives students access to all sorts of new ideas and perspectives.
- Books are highly portable, so reading can provide entertainment during times that are usually very boring, such as when students are on the bus in the mornings.
- Reading is a very slow paced and relaxing activity, which makes it the perfect activity to do before bed, especially for people who have trouble getting ready to fall asleep.
Let’s focus a little bit more on each of these points.
- Building Vocabulary: While reading, students are sure to encounter a variety of new words. This can be very helpful in expanding their vocabulary in more ways than one. Firstly, if a student chooses to look up the definition of each new word that they encounter, then they will begin to be more comfortable with that word. Then, if they are composing a piece of writing for school in the future they may be able to use the new words they have learned to improve the colour of their writing. Secondly, every time a student learns a new word from a book they will already have learned how to use that word in a sentence. This is because the words will always be contained in sentences which highlight the correct use of the word.
- Familiarity with Sentence Structure and Grammar: Similarly to how students will improve their vocabulary by constantly encountering new words, students will also be constantly exposed to well composed sentences. This is really helpful because in order to be able to compose sentences which follow structural and grammar rules students must first become very familiar with what a properly written sentence looks like, as well as the intrinsic flow that a good sentence has. Having a student spend some of their free time reading will help to shift the focus away from the poorly composed sentences often used in texting or social networking. The time spent looking at proper sentences will help students to gain an intuitive feel for how to write well.
- Access to New Ideas and Perspectives: Reading books from a variety of authors is sure to expose students to a lot of new ways of seeing the world. Books can provide an enjoyable way to learn about the way that people experience life in all sorts of different parts of the world, as well as throughout different eras in history. Connecting with a variety of new viewpoints is extremely beneficial, as it can cause students to begin looking at the world in new ways as well as teaching them how to put themselves in other people’s shoes, which can be very helpful in building skills such as charisma.
- Portable Entertainment: If a student chooses to leave a book in their bag, so that they take it with them pretty much everywhere they go, they will be able to take it out and enjoy reading whenever they have a stretch of empty time. Examples of empty time that could be filled with reading would be during transportation such as taking the school bus every day, or maybe during the lunch hour if a student’s usual friends are away on a field trip with their class for the day, the student will still have something interesting to do. Filling empty time with reading is a very positive idea for two main reasons. Firstly, if a student feels absorbed by their reading it will help them feel like the empty time is passing at a faster pace. Secondly, reading is a productive activity that allows clear and easy tracking of progress, which can inspire positive feeling of productivity in a student!
- Relaxation Time: Reading is widely regarded as a relaxing activity by those who have incorporated it into their daily routines, but for those who don’t have a lot of experience reading in their down time this may seem like a strange concept. The reason why reading is considered to be relaxing by many is that reading a good book is similar to traveling to a whole new world and becoming a different person for a little while. While reading an enthralling book, students can really forget about their own lives and anything that may be causing them stress and really dive in to experiencing things through someone else’s eyes. Additionally, if a student is struggling with any personal or emotional issues then reading books about someone else who has to face similar problems can really make them feel like they are not alone, and perhaps provide them with ideas of how they can stay strong during tough times.
In conclusion, there are many benefits of reading for fun, and anyone who does not currently consider reading to be an enjoyable activity should at least give it a try!
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