Top 8 Benefits of Reading

We all know that there has to be benefits to reading. We have been told since we were in elementary school all of the great things that come out of reading. But when was the last time that you stopped and thought about what good could come out of reading? We are required to do some reading in college so maybe it will make the task easier knowing that there will be, at least in theory, some type of reward. This benefits I have found are taken from this post.

{1} Reading increases your intelligence

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~Dr. Seuss 

I think this is the most obvious benefit of reading. You learn to do anything by doing it. You learn to read by reading; by reading new and harder material you learn new vocabulary; with new vocabulary you have a greater intelligence and are able to communicate better and open up doors of opportunity to go to new places.

{2} Reading boosts your brain power

Not only does reading increase your intelligence but it in turn boosts your brain power. Regular reading, like regular exercising, strengthens the brain by improving the memory system. This means that regular reading can slow the onset of alzheimer’s disease (Neurology).

{3} Reading can make you more empathetic

I always forget what empathy is so I’ll include the definition for you!

Empathy: the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of thefeelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

To me, empathy means that you can understand someone else on a deeper level. Something about empathetic people just makes them awesome. You want to talk to them because you know that they are going to at least try to understand exactly what you are you going through even if they really don’t have a clue. And they are going to be there for you whenever you need them (Science).

So this may be a stretch but, because reading can make you more empathetic, it could be said that reading could lead to you having more friends!

{4} Flipping pages while reading can help you understand what you are reading.

 I guess this one doesn’t really apply if you are reading on one of those fancy e-readers but for those boring college textbooks, this should give you some hope! “The feel of paper pages under your fingertips provides your brain with some context, which can lead to a deeper understanding and better comprehension of the subject you’re reading about” (Wired).

{5} Reading may help you fight Alzheimer’s Disease

I already touched on this but here is some facts. “Those who who engage their brains through activities such as reading, chess, or puzzles could be 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who spend their down time on less stimulating activities.”

Inactivity of the brain leads to an increase in the progression of Alzheimer’s. Reading is activity so therefore, reading helps fight Alzheimer’s.

{6} Reading can help you relax

I LOVE reading for pleasure. I recently took a Saturday and went to a friends house to steal her couch. My goal was to read a book that day and guess what? I did! I brewed a pot of coffee as soon as I got there, got a blanket, and read. It was the most relaxing day I have ever had! One 2009 study by Sussex University researchers showed “that reading may reduce stress by as much as 68 percent.”

{7} Reading before bed can help you sleep

So after relaxing, according to the Mayo Clinic, “creating a bedtime ritual, like reading before bed, signals to your body that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep.” I think this makes sense because reading my biology textbook makes me exhausted!

But seriously, this is why children are encouraged to have a bed time routine. The routine signals the body when it is time to get sleepy. This transitions into adult hood. If you do something the same every night before bed your body will get the message that it may be time to start getting sleepy and head to bed.

{8} Reading is contagious

Seventy-five percent of parents wish their children would read more for fun, and those who want to encourage their children to become bookworms can start by reading out loud at home. ” I’m not a parent but I do work a lot with children. I feel like I can’t really encourage them to read if I’m not reading myself.

In conclusion, I know that reading can sometimes be daunting but I hope that you have found some benefits in this post that makes you feel better about those homework assignments!

 

 

 

What’s Out There?

In my last post I discussed how to read assigned reading effectively. That post focused on you being by yourself and having to figure things out for yourself, but I want you to know that you are not alone! Here at the University of Indianapolis campus there are resources out there to help you on your assignments.

 

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Photo via: Visual Hunt

Most likely, after you read an article using the tips discussed in the last post, you will be asked to write a paper based on what you discovered while reading those articles. This can also be a very daunting task. You may be thinking, “wait, what do I actually write about?” or, “I have no idea where to even begin with this.” Well, my friend, have no fear! UIndy Writing Lab is here!

 

What is the UIndy Writing Lab you ask? It is an amazing service at UIndy. The Writing Lab is exactly what it sounds like. It is a place that you go to work on your writing. This is a great place to go for any point that you are at in your paper. If you need help figuring out where to start your paper you can go to the lab. If you need a new set of eyes to look over your grammar, head to the writing lab. Seriously, they are great!

My experience with the writing lab has so far been great. I went last semester when I was working on a paper for my chemistry class. When our professor told us we would be writing a chemistry paper I was very confused. How in the world do you write a chemistry paper? A great thing about the writing lab is that there are tutors for writing in every subject. This paper doesn’t have to be just for your English 101 class. You are highly encouraged to use the writing lab for every subject area.

When I had no idea what to do to start my chemistry paper I went to my writing lab tutor. She encouraged me to start with an outline. We worked together on the outline and other parts of the paper. My job was to go back and work on the paper. We met two weeks later. My paper was a little short so my tutor was able to read through the paper and help me know where to add in a few things to make the paper just a little bit longer.

The writing lab helped me a lot on the chemistry paper. I received an A on the paper that in the beginning I had no idea how to even start. Had I not gone to the writing lab I most likely would not have received a grade as high as I did. I would encourage anyone to utilize the writing lab. The students that are hired as tutors there are highly qualified. They want to help you succeed. If you need to sign up for an appointment with the writing lab you can click here!

The Writing Lab is the only writing service I have used on UIndy’s campus. Off campus, I use Purdue’s Online Writing Lab all the time! This website has so much information that it can be a little overwhelming but it does have a lot of useful information so I encourage you to look at it and become familiar with it. It has useful formatting and citation information that is hard to remember. It has the formatting styles that you will need in your college career, APA, MLA and more!

Another on campus resource than can be used is somewhat obvious but I feel like could always be talked about is your professor! If you have no idea what you are supposed to write then who better to ask than the one who will be grading your paper? Your professor will love giving you insight to what you should write about AND they will see that you worked hard on the paper and they will probably be super impressed! Professors can sometimes be intimidating but I promise they won’t bite you! Your professors are not out to fail you. Believe it or not they really do want to see you succeed and they are willing to do what they can to help you reach that point of success.

The main goal of this post was to introduce you to the UIndy Writing Lab, but I also wanted you to be aware of what else was out there for you to use. UIndy wants you to succeed. I remember thinking about that fact on my orientation day when Prez Rob was telling about all the services to help students on campus. UIndy wants you to succeed so that is why that have all of the services that they do. If you put in the effort that you need to, you will succeed at the University of Indianapolis!

 

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Reading Effectively

In my last post I discussed that we are all readers. For me, and most college students, the bulk of our reading comes from the readings we are assigned for class. Class reading assignments can be overbearing. As someone studying in the health sciences, if you see me reading, I am most likely reading a journal article. Journal articles are intense. They are overwhelming, full of detail, and usually incredibly confusing. In this post I would like to be able to give you some advice for reading those daunting assigned journal article readings. My hope is that after reading some tips you will not end up like the overwhelmed college student below.

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Just last week I had a journal article quiz. The title alone was overwhelming- it was descriptive and more in detail than any book that I have read. There was seven authors, countless references, and a lot of “big kid vocabulary” words. I had no idea how I would even start with this article. I wondered if I could get by with just reading the abstract. That would be enough right? That would give me the basic information that I would need to answer the questions on the quiz, right? Wrong! I pulled out the study guide and I realized that the abstract would not answer all the questions. So what was I to do? Thankfully, our professor gave us some tips on reading these articles.

This PDF file (cronereadingpapers) is very basic. It walks through the components of a journal article and at the very end gives some insight on how to read a journal article. I found this file (howtoseriouslyreadajournalarticle Author: Elisabeth Pain) to be more helpful so I will be pulling most of my information from that.

First, how do you even start reading a thirteen page scientific paper? First, start by reading the abstract (Pain). The abstract will give you a general idea of what the article will be about. It doesn’t go into detail about the data and results of the study but it will at least give you a general idea of what to be looking for while you are reading the article. If you are doing a research project, it is always a good idea to read the abstract before you start reading the rest of the article because the abstract, again, will let you know briefly what the article will be about and whether or not you need to waste your time reading the rest of the article.

Next, go straight to the results and conclusions sections (Pain). This may seem like a crazy idea but I always do this. I find this helpful because knowing the results will help interpreting the data that led to those results. Sometimes just reading the data section gets really confusing because you don’t really understand what all the data means but the conclusions section will explain what all of those numbers and letters mean.

The next step is, to me, the most dreadful. Now, you must read the entire article from beginning to end (Pain). But don’t worry, there are still ways to get through this without being bored for an hour, reading something that makes absolutely no sense to you. This tip was share with me from a professor in my cell biology class. She suggested that while you are reading an article, take it paragraph by paragraph. This may seem like it will take longer but when you have to take a quiz after reading the article this will be helpful. After you finish one paragraph take a second look at it and pull out one main idea from it. Whether that be what the goal of the research was, some statistics, or some important procedures, pulling these things out will help you to organize your thoughts and there are also studies showing that writing things down help you to remember them so… WRITE IT DOWN!

I know that reading journal articles can be extremely boring. This is only my first year in college and I already feel that I have read more than I want to but I know that as I continue my study in Public Health Education and Promotion and Occupational Therapy I will only be exposed to more of these fantastic readings and I am sure that other college students will be forever reading these articles. These tips are practical and helpful but let me step aside and put on the “mom hat.”

The first step in approaching a journal article is really attitude. I know this sounds so much like a mom but it really is true. If you go into the reading with the mindset that you want to get something out of it then you will enjoy the article more as opposed to dreading the article going in. Change your thoughts; change your life.

Featured Image: Photo via Visualhunt

 

The Reader I am Today

Everyone is a reader. Whether you are a social media reader, a news reader, or a book reader, everyone reads. It is a part of our daily lives. We must read signs, food menus, assignments, and important emails. This leads me to my question: What kind of reader are you? I would like to share with you what has made me the reader I am today.

When I was young, my mom bought me a Hooked on Phonics kit and I began teaching myself how to read before I went to kindergarten. I fell in love with reading. I liked to see what would happen on the next page and I never wanted to stop. When my dad would come home from work I would take him the new book that I learned to read that day and I would sit on his lap and read to him.

As I entered primary school, reading became a required activity; however, this didn’t bother me because I still loved reading. We were allowed to read all kinds of books and after we read the book we took quizzes to check our understanding. Those quizzes awarded us points and when we earned a certain number of points we would receive fun prizes! This made reading fun and exciting.

numberthestarsOne of the first books that really developed my reading style was a book we read in fourth grade as a class called “Number the Stars.” This book was about Nazi Germany and focused on a family that was housing a Jewish girl. The story was so riveting and so real to me. It wasn’t a true story but it was written with historical context so I felt like I could really understand what the main character was going through. It was after this kind of read that I realized I would love reading books that were either based on true stories or written with historical context.

The next year of school, in fifth grade, as a class we read books that were more about fantasy, such as “Bridge to Terabithia” and “The Giver.” I didn’t enjoy these books as much I think because I just couldn’t see them as really happening. The characters lived in a world that I couldn’t even try to make real in my mind. I of course read the books and understood them well enough to take a test but I never fell in love with this style of reading the way I fell in love with “Number the Stars.”

Finally, I reached sixth grade. In the school I attended, grades kindergarten through sixth RollofThunder.jpgwere housed in the same building. That being said, sixth grade was an exciting year! We were the oldest group of kids in the building. We got to be leaders for the younger students and it was just all around an exciting year. This was also the year I had my favorite English/ Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Gilpin. She was such an enthusiastic teacher and she made everything that we read exciting but my favorite book we read in that class was “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.” This story was about an African American family in the heart of the south during the Great Depression and a time of racism. It follows how the family is treated because of the time period they live in. Laws were unfair. Blacks were not able to attend white schools and therefore did not receive an education as well as the whites did. The battle in the story is over land; land that blacks were not allowed to own due to race laws. I found this story so interesting because every time I would read it I would think and wonder, “How could people treat other humans so awful?” and, “Why didn’t white people who saw the injustice start standing up to fight earlier than they did?”

HidingPlace.jpgThe last reading that I want to address is one that has impacted my life so greatly that I can’t even explain in words how this book has changed me. “The Hiding Place“is a book similar to “Number the Stars” in that it was written during Nazi Germany, WWII. This book followed a Christian family in Germany that hid Jews in their home. The essentially had a “fake wall” that they would hide Jews behind when the Nazi soldiers came and did house searches. One day, the soldiers found the Jews so not only were the Jews arrested and taken to concentration camps but the whole family that was hiding the Jews was taken to the concentration camps. This is an incredible story about a woman who stands for what she believes in and I think that can resonate with anyone, no matter what your belief set is.

My reading preference hasn’t changed. I would rather read a historical drama than a fantasy any day. Yes, I went through the “Hunger Games” phase like any teenage girl did and yes, I watched all the movies but I would much rather read “The Hiding Place” over and over again to experience real life and let the words change my life.

 

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