Reading for Pleasure

Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure is something that I have always done (and I believe everybody should do – it’s just a case of finding the correct reading material for each person that grabs their interest, there is no one size that fits all). From as far back as I can remember I have always been reading books, I watched my mum reading and it was encouraged (as a child my small local library got a lot of use). I devoured books such as The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, before moving up to more adult authors and grown up themes with authors such as Stephen King, Dean R Koontz and Richard Laymon and now I read a variety of authors, well-known and not so well-known, I even read a book about the British hearse and the British funeral (and surprisingly found it quite interesting).

Reading for pleasure is an activity that many of us enjoy, and for good reason. And it is becoming more popular again. It’s not just a way to pass the time; it’s a journey into the depths of the human imagination, the key to unlocking exciting and entertaining stories that screens just won’t do justice and opens up a massive vault of knowledge. Reading for pleasure is a fantastic form of entertainment as well as being great for educational purposes and self-development.

As well as enjoying some great stories, the benefits of reading for pleasure are numerous. Reading has been shown to improve cognitive performance, can enhances our ability to think critically and solve problems and is an excellent way to help in the development of language skills, expands our vocabulary and improves our understanding of grammar and syntax. And this linguistic enrichment is not just for children but for readers of all ages, you are never too young or too old to learn, improve and boost your skills.

Reading for pleasure can also help with academic achievement. The BookTrust website states that “the impact of reading for pleasure is four times more powerful on progress in vocabulary, mathematics, and spelling at age 16 than the influence of parental education or socioeconomic status”.

There is also evidence to show that reading for pleasure can increase empathy, improve relationships with others, and can even help to reduce the symptoms of depression. A 2012 UK government report on research evidence on reading for pleasure makes for some interesting reading – you can have a read of it here.

Reading for pleasure, whether it is novels, newspapers, comic books or graphic novels, provides a superb form of escapism that has excellent benefits for promoting mental wellbeing and alleviating stress. And turning off those screens and picking up a book can even help you sleep better.

“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” – Dr. Suess

Whilst books can be expensive, reading doesn’t have to be. Most towns and cities have a much underused resource that is free to use, packed with books for all ages, reading abilities and subjects – your local library! The local library is a great place to lose yourself in another world. An excellent resource to help readers discover what type of reading material suits them. It’s all about finding the right book or reading material that speaks to you as an individual. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, biography, novels or comics there’s a genre for everyone. So visit your local library and spend some time discovering what appeals to you and cultivate a habit of reading for pleasure. If you don’t know where you local library is, you can visit the government website and put in your postcode to find your local library and what services it offers – as well as books they offer computer services, audio books, DVDs, magazines and newspapers and often have activities and events (I used to volunteer in a small community library that offered art events, knit and natter sessions, baby and books sessions, LEGO clubs for the children at the weekends and lots more).

Reading for pleasure is a multifaceted activity that can enrich our lives in countless ways. It’s an investment that will not only provide entertainment but is good for our intellectual and emotional health, one that pays dividends throughout our lives. So, pick up a book and let the pages transport you to another world – you never know what you might discover.

And if you want to discuss books with other readers, join our new free to join and use forum, or find a book club near you on

Benefits of reading for pleasure:

  • Enhances Knowledge and Vocabulary: Reading for pleasure opens up new worlds, enriching your knowledge base and helps to expand your vocabulary.
  • Boosts Cognitive Function: Engaging with a good book can improve brain connectivity, increase your focus, and enhance overall cognitive performance.
  • Improves Academic Achievement: Studies have shown that reading for fun can lead to better results in vocabulary, mathematics, and spelling, more so than the educational level of parents (see the BookTrust here).
  • Increases Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: By diving into the lives of characters, readers can develop a better understanding of different perspectives and human emotions.
  • Reduces Stress: Getting lost in a story can be a great escape, helping to lower stress levels and providing a sense of relaxation and tranquillity.
  • Promotes Mental Wellbeing: Regular readers often report higher levels of mental wellbeing and self-esteem.
  • Encourages Life-long Learning: Reading not only provides immediate pleasure but also instils a lifelong habit of learning and curiosity.
  • Strengthens Social Bonds: Sharing a book with others, discussing characters, and exchanging views can strengthen social bonds and friendships.
  • Can Aid Better Sleep: Establishing a reading routine before bed can signal to your body that it’s time to wind down, leading to better sleep quality.
  • Can Foster Creativity: Reading imaginative stories can inspire your own creativity, sparking new ideas and innovative thinking.
  • Less Screen Time: Choosing a book over digital devices can lead to less screen time, which is beneficial for both physical and mental health.
  • Helps Cultivate Patience and Attention Span: In our fast-paced digital world, reading can help cultivate patience and the ability to focus on a single task for extended periods.