7 potential health benefits of reading books

While you may have been taught the importance of reading from a young age, the fact is that more and more Americans are reading fewer books overall, raising questions about the possible health effects.

According to a 2021 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 23 percent of American adults reportedly haven’t read any part of a book in the past 12 months, either in print or electronic form. This trend is also true for children: The Pew Research Center reports that the number of children and young people aged 9 to 13 reading “for fun” is at an all-time low.

While reading in any form can be beneficial, research suggests that reading traditional paper books may be superior to digital forms as readers are able to recall events and the entire timeline in a given story more effectively. However, researchers also point out that understanding can be similar in both formats. Additionally, according to the Harvard Business Review, while nonfiction offers opportunities for language development and learning, literary fiction can offer even more benefits, including empathy, critical thinking skills, and more.

With an increasingly fast-paced lifestyle and seemingly endless responsibilities, reading may be low on your priority list. But that might be worth considering.

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