A review of research for The Reading Agency explains how reading can provide far more than a boost in educational outcomes for adults and children. One study of 4,000 adults in the UK found that reading helped them enjoy social occasions more.
Previous research also found that reading boosts children’s emotional understanding. Overall reading was linked to enjoyment, escapism and relaxation.
Polling 4,000 people, the most recent research looked at the way mental and physical health can be improved by an enjoyment of reading. It was found that those who did read for pleasure experience the following:
- less likely to have feelings of depression and stress
- more self-esteem
- more able to cope with difficult situations
- better patterns of sleeping.
The report also looked at research carried out in Germany. This looked at children aged seven to nine and potential links between emotional understanding and literacy.
The research focused on the impact of literacy sessions where books with emotional content were read and discussed. It was found that these sessions helped to enhance children’s emotional vocabulary and ability to understand emotions.
Interestingly, it also found that boys were more “positively influenced in their capability to recognise masked feelings than girls.”
In conclusion, the report stated:
“Reading is closely linked to increasing understanding of our own identities and can also play a large part in relating to others, understanding their world views and so forth.”
Chief executive of The Reading Agency, Sue Wilkinson said the report has found that “everything changes when we read.”