The Importance Of Reading In Literature

1650 Words7 Pages
Consistently, people tell students that reading is critical and is “good” for them, but have they ever explained why reading is critical? What does reading do except to improve our reading skills? As a small child, we learn the alphabet, then we learn to read, and from that point on, we just continue to improve reading. A common known idea is that reading can develop our knowledge and critical skills throughout our schooling years, but studies show that reading fiction can improve empathy, awareness, and even our social skills. Many argue, however, that many who read already contain empathy skills and never gain any empathy skills through reading. Another argument is that fiction books do not bring awareness of different events, for fiction…show more content…
When a young reader interacts with peers and discusses a difficult situation that one has read in a fiction book, they show the empathy that the book developed into that teen reader. The young reader can then communicate suggestions or comfort to the struggling teen building a bond between them. This example displays how reading a fiction book can potentially improve social skills. In fact, in the article “In the Minds of Others” they agree “reading stories can improve your social skills by helping you better understand other human beings” (Oatley). When teens have an understanding of their peers and the people around them, they communicate more effectively since they understand them better. This idea proves that increasing awareness and empathy support the idea that reading literature enhances social skills. Continuing in the article “In the Minds of Others,” the author explains the idea of improved social skills saying that “it can hone your social brain, so that when you put your book down you may be better prepared for camaraderie, collaboration, even love” (Oatley). When reading a book, the reader becomes the character in their minds; every conversation, action, and thought, is no longer the character but the reader. Consequently, when the reader walks away from the book, the mind still contains some aspects of the character the reader was reading about, so the reader’s social brain is still activated and ready to be socialized. Oatley, the author of “In the Minds of Others,” compares readers with pilots, describing that “just as pilots gain practice with flight simulators, he reasoned, people might acquire social experience by reading fiction” (Oatley). When readers become the characters in literature books and are part of the conversations and events, they are exercising their social part of their
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