March 2 is Read Across America Day. The observance, which coincides with the birthday of famed children’s author Dr. Seuss, aims to promote reading, particularly for children and young adults. Schools, libraries, and community centers across the country participate in the event with book fairs, read-a-thons, meet-the-author events, and writing contests.
In this busy age, you may find it hard to make time to read, but there are plenty of benefits to curling up to a good book on a regular basis. Here are just a few benefits:
- Mental stimulation – Just as you work your muscles to keep them strong, it’s important to challenge your brain regularly. Reading gives the brain a workout and challenges your brain to retain information. As you do so, you can strengthen existing brain pathways and also create new ones to help you hold on to information longer.
- Stress reduction – Life is chock full of struggles and stress. Reading a great book or magazine article is a powerful way to clear your brain and relax your body. Reading can distract your mind from the pressing problems of life, letting the day’s tensions slip away so you can relax.
- Knowledge – Reading puts you in touch with a world of information and is a great opportunity to continue learning. Gaining more knowledge helps you process the world around you in meaningful ways and equips you to cope with different challenges.
- Vocabulary expansion – Reading exposes you to new words and figures of speech. A strong vocabulary can help you become more confident and articulate.
- Stronger analytical thinking skills – Think of a time when you were reading a great story, and your brain had to jump into analytical mode to pull information from context clues and try to make sense of a plot. This hard mental work helps us make solid, logical choices in many aspects of life.
- Improved focus – We live in a world of distractions, and our attention spans often suffer as a result. Reading can help us train our brain to focus longer and stronger.
- Better writing skills – The expansion of your vocabulary, coupled with bolstered analytical thinking, can help you put your own thoughts on paper. Your writing will be influenced by the style, organization, and fluidity of great writers.
- Free entertainment – You don’t have to splurge on recreational activities to be entertained. Books can provide tremendous adventures—for free.
Use Read Across America Day as an excuse to commit to squeeze in a few minutes of reading each day.