How often do you read?

Photo Credit: QuotesNew

Photo Credit: QuotesNew

Rebecca Craanen, staff writer

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March may be recognized as National Reading Month, but reading should be a year-round activity.

There are many benefits to reading. From an early age, children who read and are encouraged to read more difficult books tend to be more successful in school than other children. Their mind is more adapted to retaining information. Children, however, are not the only ones who benefit from sitting down with a great book.

Just like any muscle, the brain grows stronger when it is used more often. Reading is excellent exercise for the brain, and studies have shown that it can even slow the process of both Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. The stimulus keeps parts of the brain active that may not be otherwise.

Another benefit, and likely the most obvious one, is that reading helps you gain knowledge. Regardless of what kind of book you are reading, it is probably full of fascinating information. Be it small facts or just new words to try out, reading creates a smarter, more capable person.

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Books are powerful. Storytelling or writing articles or simply writing a note to a friend is something that is taken for granted. Those who are blessed with the gift of literacy should celebrate it. There is a famous saying: “The pen is mightier than the sword.” That might, however, comes not from the author, but from the readers.

Reading, and literacy in general, is one of the most important skills anyone can have. Throughout history, the people who could read were the people in power. Books are dangerous in the hands of a free thinking society. It’s why the Library of Alexandria was destroyed. It’s the reason why the Catholic Church only taught its own people during the Middle Ages. It’s the breath of air that sparked the flames of the American Revolution. Knowledge is power.

This is a challenge to anyone who reads this article: Read at least one book in the next month. Find something you’ve never read before, of any genre, and simply make your way through the pages of text. As you’re reading, think about what kinds of new information you learn. Think not only about the literal meaning of the book, but the power that meaning has. Just read and let your mind become stronger.

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