Read for Pleasure


Past research has found that reading for pleasure is linked to better overall satisfaction with life, higher incomes, healthier relationships (lower divorce rates), and better mental health. Children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers.


New research from the Institute of Education (IOE) examines the effect of reading for pleasure on cognitive development over time. Children who read for pleasure made more progress in maths, vocabulary and spelling between the ages of 10 and 16 than those who rarely read. Reading for pleasure was found to be more important for children's cognitive development between ages 10 and 16 than their parents' level of education.


Results of a recent study commissioned by Environics Research Group to gather data about the pleasure reading habits of Canadians reveal a high population of passionate readers still very engaged with traditional reading platforms. Books are the overwhelmingly preferred medium, with 70% of readers preferring them to magazines, newspapers, and blogs.


During the past several years, studies like Reading at Risk and To Read or Not to Read have addressed a growing sense of concern about the nearly universal decline in American literacy. Only one-third of 13-year-olds were daily readers and fifty-five percent of people who read below the basic level were unemployed. And only three percent of those in prison could read at a proficient level. Adults' rates of literary reading for pleasure have dropped back to 2002 levels, from 50 percent in 2008 to 47 percent in 2012.


These surveys demonstrate reading’s increasingly precarious position among an unprecedented large variety of electronic entertainment and communication options. On average, Americans spend 2.8 hours per day watching television and seven minutes reading per weekend day. The deciding factor in who reads and who doesn't is not socioeconomic status. It's how many books can be found in a family's home.


Need to make more time for reading? Word Cafe suggests eight ways you can fit reading into your busy schedule:  cut down your TV watching time • Use your lunch hour to leave your desk and read while you eat  • Make it a habit of reading before bedtime • Keep your current read handy in at all times • Designate an hour of reading time with the family •  Join, or start, a book club • Make reading your excuse to get out of the house • Create a reading oasis in your home