Read Up: The Benefits and Importance of Literature

By Staff WriterLast Updated May 27, 2020 7:28:37 PM ET
Lit
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Literature provides a window for readers to view the world. It gives you a blueprint for viewing culture and society. It provides a historical record. Literature also gives readers a pathway to new experiences.

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Literature builds essential personal skills. It creates a strong sense of empathy in readers. It also hones critical thinking skills. The benefits that literature offers reveals how important its role is.

Literature Is Essential to Culture

There's a clear link between literature and culture. Literature provides a window into the culture of its time. It reveals traditions, beliefs, and the way people live. It also helps form the culture of the day, as noted by the International Journal of Social Sciences. As they say, life imitates art. Art also is a product of life. 

Reading Develops Reasoning Skills

Reading literature helps children and adolescents develop reasoning skills. Readers build cognitive abilities. They have a front row seat to watch as characters face problems. Readers get an intimate view of characters' reasoning. They watch as they succeed or suffer the consequences of poor decision making. By reading about the characters' reasoning, the reader builds their abilities too.

Literature Builds Skills Needed in School and Beyond

People who read build essential skills for success. Readers have higher vocabularies, improved communication skills, and better comprehension. These skills carry over from school to work to relationships. You need them to build connections with the people around you. Other skills you gain include:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Research skills

Reading Literature Cultivates Empathy

Empathy gives you the ability to feel what someone else is feeling. It's the capability to understand what someone else is going through. It helps you build social connections. It also helps regulate your own emotions. This encourages you to be helpful to others, according to VeryWellMind

When you read literature, you engage in deep reading. This cognitive activity helps develop empathy. Your brain responds like it would if you were experiencing it in real life.

Literature Helps You Discover Yourself

The search for self is a lifelong activity. When you read, you can let go of the pressures of everyday life. Without peer pressure or the fear of judgment, readers can find their true emotions. They also often discover more about their wants and needs. Literature provides a fresh perspective. That can help readers learn more about their own priorities in life.

Reading Gives You Tools to Overcome Challenges

Reading about how characters persevere lets readers share in the experience. Next time a reader faces something one of the characters does, they'll have a different perspective. They also gain the ability to overcome challenges and push past obstacles in their own lives. e

It Strengthens Links in the Brain

Reading literature connects various regions of the brain. It's a complex form of communication. As you read, different parts of your brain activate. They also link up in new ways, potentially reshaping the brain. Those links remain active for several days after reading, according to Psychology Today.

You Become Part of the Action

In 2006, Spanish researchers conducted a study. The results revealed how the brain reacts to reading. Participants read while undergoing an MRI. Reading words that about smells made areas of the brain responsible for processing language light up. So did the areas that process smells.

In 2012, Emory University conducted a similar experiment. When their subjects read words about texture, the subjects' sensory cortex lit up. After reading action words, the area of the brain that coordinates movement lit up. The results are all about brain response, according to The New York Times. Your brain reacts the same to real-life and read about experiences.