Reading educators Jeffrey Wilhelm and Michael Smith recently interviewed students about the benefits of reading. Here’s my favorite quote from “Don’t Underestimate the Power of Pleasure Reading.” Helen, a 14-year-old, says:
Sometimes when big stuff happens in my life, I’ll think about what my favorite characters would have done, the ones I admire most. They all have different approaches, different ways they approach things, and then I try to apply that to my life, to see which way works for me. Characters are just ways of thinking, really.
Helen captures perfectly one of the best reasons to read. When our lives get tough, and we may need some advice, reading gives us resources to turn to, role models to bounce ideas off of. Sure, these mentors may be fake, fictional characters, but they can help us in real life, too.
In other words, reading can serve as an escape if we want to leave the world for a while. But it’s also one of the best ways to get back to reality and figure out what to do next.