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What role have books played in your life? For me, books have always been a part of
my life. My family tells me that when I was a toddler, I would open a book and just stare at its
pages. Before I went to bed, my parents would read to me, and I would soak in every word. I
would even go so far as to memorize entire books just based on what my parents read to me.
Now, I can’t imagine a life without books. However, I know this is not the case for everyone.
I’m sure that some people only read books because they were assigned to do so, and not
because they actually enjoy reading. Although not always apparent, books play profound
roles in people’s lives, whether they are a “reader” or not.

What are the benefits of reading? The statistics concerning reading are quite
staggering. For example, 50 percent of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth-grade
level. Most of these adults likely never attended college after high school graduation, or
perhaps, never graduated high school at all. This proves how reading can influence the rest of a person’s
life, from childhood to adulthood. Actually, if a child is left unstimulated, their cognitive
processes can deteriorate, as children need to be read to and engaged with. In addition,
children exposed to fewer colors, less touch, little interaction with adults, fewer sights and
sounds, and less language, actually have smaller brains. The goes so
far as to say “The link between academic failure, delinquency, and crime is welded to reading
failure.” On the other hand, reading also has many health benefits. For example, reading can
actually alleviate stress after a hard day’s work, lowering blood pressure and heart rate just as
effectively as yoga! Furthermore, reading can even lessen depression, as becoming
immersed in the lives of other characters can help you feel less estranged and isolated from
others, even giving you a keener sense of empathy! As reading often demonstrates proper
morals and values, it becomes fundamental to development, not just in education, but
in beliefs and morals as well.

Should you only read books for education’s sake? No one would argue that the books
we read in school help us tremendously. Along with teaching morals, these educational books
expand the reader’s vocabulary and reading comprehension. This helps prepare
students for the SATs and for college, as both require a certain degree of reading
comprehension. Even after college, many jobs require the employee to read a difficult text or
scholarly article. While books are fundamental to the sphere of education, pleasure reading is
important for one’s literary development. Everyone enjoys activities they find fun. If you
consistently read for pleasure, you can find that your enjoyment of reading increases as well. Since reading is
tremendously important, you must carve out time for it, and with Covid-19, finding time
is probably easier to do now than it ever was before.

However, who decides if a book is good or not? Is it the people? And does everyone
agree on which books are deemed “bad”? It must be slightly subjective in some ways, as a
group of people may enjoy reading a certain book or series, while another may not. However,
which books are worth our time? For example, is it acceptable to read a book with ideas we
don’t necessarily agree with? To have a well-rounded education and view of the world, it is
important to be knowledgeable in both sides of a debate. By reading different books and
articles with conflicting opinions, we can fully develop our own ideas of the world and our
beliefs. For how can we refute an argument without knowing what that argument says? To
have the ability to challenge others on their false ideas, we must have a grasp of these said
ideas. For example, if I were to only read the Bible or Christian texts, and if someone were to tell
me about their religion, then I might not understand what or why they believe what they
believe. On the other hand, if I were to familiarize myself with their religion’s texts and
writings, I could better understand their faith and refute it when needed.

In conclusion, reading is fundamental and incredibly beneficial for people of all ages,
not just for the increase of cognitive function, but also for its benefits to one’s education, as well
as its improvement to the morals of its developing readers. Finally, I dearly hope that
this article has strengthened or molded your convictions in reading and it’s worth. Ciao for
now! (Wait, are you still here?) Why are you still reading this? Go curl up by the fire with a
good book!


Joy McHugh – 9th Grade

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