Why Professors Should Encourage Outside Reading

No matter how much you enjoy a class, it’s difficult not to get annoyed by the work level sometimes. Although homework can be beneficial in helping you remember and understand what professors cover in class, sometimes it can be so consuming that you don’t have any free time. I can tell you I definitely feel this way, and I feel like sometimes homework limits me from anything I enjoy doing––including reading. Of course, I read for class quite often, but aside from breaks, I haven’t had time to sit down and immerse myself in a good work of fiction.

To me and my fellow bookworms, the feeling of getting lost in a good novel is freeing; books allow you to travel to a new place or back to a favorite place without physically going anywhere. They can indulge your imagination and help you to escape from the stresses of reality. Books can even help you learn a few new words while you’re at it. Though reading has plenty of cognitive and academic benefits, it relieves a lot of stress as well and it’s a wonderful way to spend free time.

If professors encouraged more outside reading, students would be able to explore books and find something they like. Although I have a passion for reading, I know others may not share that passion but even people who aren’t avid readers can still find something they will enjoy. After all, J.K. Rowling said, “If you don’t like reading, you haven’t found the right book.” The book you choose doesn’t have to be stereotypically “intellectual” for you to benefit from reading it––as long as you enjoy whatever you are reading you are guaranteed a wonderful experience.

According to an article on the Denver Public Library’s website, reading outside of class can help students become more engaged in class, can help with empathy, and yes, it has been proven to reduce stress as well. Every student can benefit from this, and all of these positive aspects of reading can create both a fuller education and can improve the learning experience overall. Why is it that elementary schools carve out time during the day for pleasure reading but high schools and colleges don’t promote it so much?

Reading more than just textbooks while in college can help students bring new perspectives to the class that is not limited to what they gather from assignments. They can make connections from their outside book to the class material and it can even help them understand the material better. Not only can reading help with comprehension and making connections, investing time in a good book can also promote creativity. According to Psychology Today, “reading fiction was found to improve the reader’s ability to put themselves in another person’s shows and flex the imagination in a way that is similar to the visualization of a muscle memory in sports.” So, by reading, you are giving your imagination a workout, and, no matter what your major is, all fields and subject can benefit from creative thinking.

Instead of letting homework to take over students’ free time, professors should give assignments that allow time for outside reading. There are many different ways to learn, and as reading improves creativity, relieves stress, and can cultivate empathy. These are all incredible benefits that students miss out on when they don’t have time to pick up a good book. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed book nerd, a casual reader, or even someone who prefers movies or TV, there is a book out there that you’re bound to enjoy. That is when you have the time…which, you should.


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