Reading is a skill that has been emphasized from time immemorial. I remember when in my younger days my grandparents would keep emphasizing on how I need to read and read beyond what is necessarily related to what I study. At first I never understood why this staunch emphasis on reading. But as I have been working in the field of Psychology I increasingly recognize the significant role it plays in an individual’s life.

It is fairly well known that reading is something which increases your vocabulary and your knowledge base. The more you read the lesser it is considered to be as there is always a gap between all that exists and all that we know. However, there is far more to reading than is evident at a first glance.

Let us look at some of the aspects towards which reading contributes:

  • A key skill in reading involves decoding. This starts with singular words which a child learns to break down into their individual sounds and then combine them to form words. This decoding further aids in enhancing the skills to construct sentences and also combine sentences to form paragraphs.
  • Reading is central to cognitive and language development. The more children are encouraged to read it is seen that there language development, which is a key skill area, tends to be enhanced significantly.
  • Reading enhances creative processes. Individuals who tend to read a lot have been found to be more creative than those who do not. Reading allows individuals to think laterally and to allow their minds to explore freely the various possibilities than can be associated with situations.
  • Reading also contributes to the formation and strengthening of the self of an individual. Gaining validity for one’s ideas and having significant empirical support for what one thinks about things and situations goes a long way in helping an individual develop greater confidence and certainty relating to their own self.
  • Reading is also an important way of keeping the mind and brain active. It is an extremely complicated activity for the mind to engage with. The way the body requires physical activity, the brain too needs its exercise and this happens with ease through an activity like reading.
  • It contributes significantly to develop an emotional understanding of situations and people. As a result, it helps build on empathy skills of readers.
  • Reading can be a great stress buster and the role it can play in relaxing and easing the mind cannot be over-emphasized.

It is important to remember that reading deficits tend to be significantly implicated in learning problems. In such a scenario, working on reading with children and also emphasizing the role it can play for adults in enhancing creativity and acting as a stress buster is of great importance.