World Book Day is held on the first Thursday in March every year. In 2020, it was held on 5th March.
This day was created by the registered charity of the same name, to celebrate stories and encourage reading.
As a kid, I remember every year the school would take us to the local library to pick up some new books. Occasionally, they’d bring an author to the library, or even the school, to talk to us about writing and the stories they told in their own work.
With all this excitement over reading, what do you actually get from it?
Why should you read?
- Encourages the Imagination
How could you read without opening your imagination? Most people remember their most imaginative times from childhood. Playing games with imaginary friends, coming up with strange stories that, as adults, we may not be able to conjure up. But reading can push our imaginations, encouraging it. Which is good not only if you’re a writer, but for anyone looking to establish goals and ambitions. How can you picture your future, or dreams, without an imagination?
- Expands Vocabulary
We grow up learning our first language, even our second and third, in school. They teach us how to form sentences, how to articulate our thoughts and communicate with each other. But reading goes beyond that. From reading, you can expand your vocabulary, learn words you’ve never heard before. Sure, you can use a thesaurus if need be, but when reading, you pick up words without realising it. They find their way into your day-to-day speech and you’ve also got the context in which they can be used, something a thesaurus doesn’t always do.
With the stresses of normal life, the negative news on the television and anything else happening in your life, it’s nice to be able to escape it all. Some find solace in TV shows, some go to nature, but reading also provides a place to get away, experience a life without your worries and stresses. Reading is a good tool for those suffering with their mental health for this very reason.
- Gaining Knowledge
Similar to expanding your vocabulary, reading also teaches you things. Whether you’re reading non-fiction or fiction, poetry or journals, there is so much to learn from reading. There are fact-based books, books made with the purpose of teaching you something. From basic psychology to the history of Europe and even Chaos Theory. But you also learn from fiction. Stories often contain factual information, but further than that, you can learn about cultures outside your own, perspectives of others, becoming more tolerable and empathic of the wider community.
- Experience Other Lives
To summarise points 1, 3 and 4, reading helps you experience a life outside your own. It gives you knowledge of cultures you haven’t experienced, gives you a place to escape and just allows your imagination to run wild. We have one life, it is impossible to experience everything possible. But reading lets that happen.
In the words of Geroge R.R. Martin, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… the man who nevers reads lives only one.”