Why Reading Widely Is So Important
Reading, especially reading outside your comfort zone, can inspire you, teach you new things, broaden your interests, and show you new writing techniques, styles, and craft skills. Academically, reading widely, both in your subject area and in other areas, provides you with additional knowledge, increases your vocabulary and grammar skills, and provides more opportunities for critical thinking and engagement with subject matter. Reading literary fiction has been found to increase empathy and reading diverse books builds empathy, increases our awareness of others, and enables us to experience stories from a variety of viewpoints. It informs our worldview, which is always a good thing.
How can you increase your reading variety? The next time you’re at a bookstore or library, try picking up something you’ve never read before and that you normally wouldn’t choose. There are also lots of reading challenges online that you can participate in. Reading challenges encourage participants to choose reading materials from genres, authors, and on subjects they normally wouldn’t choose, increasing the diversity of their existing collection. There are plenty of reading challenges you can find online, like the Read Harder challenge from Book Riot, the PopSugar Reading Challenge, or Bookish’s 2019 Reading Challenge. If you have a group of friends or classmates who would like to join you, you can even make your own bookish challenge with a mashup of existing ones!
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