Opinion: Reading for fun is crucial for personal development

By Farah Bassyouni Apr 15, 2022

As we head into summer months, the optimal time to engage in some rest and recreation comes upon us. A great method that allows one to take advantage of the warm weather and indulge in newfound free time is to start a book. Not only does leisure reading provide entertainment to pass the time, but the various benefits that accompany it make it truly worthwhile.

Reading for leisure is proven to increase empathy, reduce symptoms of depression and improve emotional well-being, according to Booktrust.org. Emotional well-being is a part of physical well-being, so partaking in leisure reading improves all aspects of the body and mind. It’s important to take advantage of the free time that summer allows in order to indulge in trying to better yourself, for your physical and intellectual advancement.

Leisure reading is also known to expand vocabulary and make individuals more well-spoken. These assets can expand into academic and professional development, whether that be writing essays or partaking in a highly anticipated job interview. A candidate with an extensive vocabulary stands out to employers and provides them with the impression that they are more intellectually advanced in comparison to other candidates. Excellent communication skills are highly coveted in today’s job market, which is an additional plus of indulging in a good read in a lawn chair under the sun. 

Some may argue that we have spent the past nine months reading and writing for class, so why spend summer break forcing ourselves to succumb to gaining further responsibilities. While indeed, we have spent the past nine months cooped up in Ames Library reading materials for our literature general education requirement, choosing to read in one’s free will makes all the difference compared to being required to do so.

 If such required reading doesn’t provide you with the same satisfaction as reading a chosen book, then it hardly provides the same benefits of leisure reading. Not to mention required reading is associated with the stress and burden of trying to satisfy all the demands of a full course load, so it’s counterintuitive in trying to utilize it to improve mental and emotional well-being. 

Of all of the benefits of leisure reading, the most astounding and underrated of them all is the satisfaction of finally finishing a book that took great effort to read. It provides one with an immense feeling of accomplishment so euphoric that some may consider it comparable to completing a marathon. Although on the exterior, it may be considered a small feat, the process of satisfying a personal goal of completing the entirety of a book provides one with the feelings of capability that can then transfer into other aspects of their lives. 

So when trying to plan ahead for your summer, take a trip to your local Barnes & Noble, library or even Bozbay bookstore located in downtown Bloomington to get a head start on your summer reading list.

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