1. Reading is pleasurable

When you start to read a really good book it is often hard to put it down, the story captivates you and time disappears as you become absorbed. It is a magical feeling when those endorphins flow!

2. Reading can reduce stress

Losing yourself in a good book has been shown to reduce your levels of stress. Research by Dr David Lewis showed that reading as little as six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by 60%, reducing your heart rate, easing muscle tension and altering your state of mind. That same study showed that reading was better at reducing stress than playing computer games.

3. Reading can provide an escape from the ‘real world’

Reading a good book can give you the opportunity to escape from the real world. You can become immersed in that world and forget your worries which is closely linked to reducing stress levels.

4. Reading helps you develop empathy for others

Reading fiction has been shown to improve your level of empathy, the ability for you to understand other people’s beliefs, feelings and thoughts. Research has shown that children exposed to a range of fiction are able to predict the outcome in social situations more accurately than non-social readers. This helps to develop a deeper understanding of your own feelings in the context of the wider world. It may help you to feel less isolated.

5. Reading works your brain and prevents memory loss

Participating in a cognitive activity such as reading over the course of your lifetime, both as a child and as an adult, has been shown to slow down memory loss when compared with those who didn’t participate in mentally stimulating activities.

6. Book groups and shared reading are great for mental health issues

There is actually scientific research by the Liverpool Health Inequalities Research Institute that shows that reading, and then talking about what you have read, can be beneficial to mental health and wellbeing. This is called ‘bibliotherapy’ and it can have a profound effect on people suffering with depression as it allows participants to discuss meaningful issues related to themselves and others.

7. Reading helps teenagers develop insights into being an adult

Becoming an adult can be tricky – a lot of things change during this time and exploring self-identity and developing self-belief are crucial. Research has shown that reading for pleasure as a teenager has three key benefits – to enhance academic performance, to improve social engagement and to assist personal development.

As you already know, alongside all the great work done in the classrooms and at home, we encourage children to come to the library as frequently as possible during the school week. There are structured times for reading and researching, as well as lots of opportunities to just sit quietly and enjoy a good book. As part of the World Book Week celebrations, I will be looking to invest in an increased range of literature that specifically supports mental health. Please do contact me if you have any suggestions at lje@barrowhills.org. Please take a look at the Library Amazon Wishlist for some ideas.

The Barrow Hills Librarian