The benefits of reading: In conversation with Narelle Lemon, Karen Loon, Jocelyn Seamer and Lyn Stone
Posted on: March 5, 2023
A National Reading Survey of 3,000 Australians conducted by Australia Reads* revealed the top reasons why Australians read are:
- for ‘pleasure and enjoyment’ (satisfaction)
- to ‘relax and unwind’ (wellbeing) and
- to keep ‘mentally stimulated’ (cognition)
To celebrate Australia Reads Day 2023, we asked four authors what they think the benefits or importance of reading are.
Reading is a matter of social justice
Jocelyn Seamer and Lyn Stone believe that teaching children to be skilled readers opens doors for them, not just for entertainment, but in life in general.
Jocelyn says “every aspect of life requires the ability to read in order to be independent and fully functioning. From gaining employment to visiting the doctor, we are always reading.” Lyn agrees that in the absence of good reading instruction, reading is not possible and "without the ability to read, we are forever reliant on others to interpret print for us.”
Reading makes our lives richer and fuller
Narelle Lemon believes reading supports overall wellbeing, “reading has become an important self-care practice that helps me recharge. It can be used as a tool to care for our minds and bodies”. Lyn agrees "it is a satisfying, enjoyable and educative activity” which can make our lives richer and fuller.
For Jocelyn reading is about delving into the world of imagination, “it stimulates the examination of countless possibilities and adds a richness to life that cannot be gained through movies and television. We get to control the experience, and we are the set designer, costumer and casting agent of the story.”
Karen Loon agrees that reading is stimulating but has a different perspective, reading to “learn about diversity and inclusion trends from journal articles, magazines and audiobooks.”
Reading expands our thinking and allows us to discover new possibilities
Reading plays an important role in life, both personally and professionally. Being a Non-Executive Director, Karen reads to stay up-to-date with the latest business trends and development. She explains, “I read for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as to stimulate my mind… reading extensively helps me to consider a broad range of perspectives and expands my thinking.”
As a researcher, Narelle agrees that “reading the stories of others allows me to dive deep into different perspectives, build empathy, and gain new insights. Reading research keeps me up-to-date with the latest evidence, helps me reflect on my own work, and inspires me to consider new possibilities.”
Regardless of what or why we read, reading has a multitude of benefits from professional learning, gaining new perspectives or for our own health and wellbeing. Celebrate your love of reading with Australia Reads Day!
* The National Reading Survey December 2021 © Australia Reads 2021
About the contributing authors
Narelle Lemon is an internationally recognised researcher in education and teaching. Her particular research relates to fostering wellbeing literacy in K-12 teachers, preservice teachers, and higher degree research students and academics in the higher education sector. Narelle is an editor of the Wellbeing and Self-care in Higher Education series.
Karen Loon is a thought leader and speaker on workplace diversity and inclusion. She is passionate about ensuring that both women and those from culturally diverse backgrounds are given the right opportunities to thrive within their organisations. Karen is the author of Fostering Culturally Diverse Leadership in Organisations: Lessons from Those Who Smashed the Bamboo Ceiling.
Jocelyn Seamer is a teacher and former school leader, who seeks to provide simple, practical solutions to help teachers implement structured literacy instruction. She is the author of Reading Success in the Early Primary Years: A Teacher's Guide to Implementing Systematic Instruction.
Lyn Stone is a linguist, author and runs an education consultancy, Lifelong Literacy. Her goal is to help teachers awaken linguistic curiosity in their students using creative, engaging tools and strategies, based upon scientific consensus as to what constitutes best practice. Lyn is the author of several books including Reading for Life: High Quality Literacy Instruction for All, Spelling for Life: Uncovering the Simplicity and Science of Spelling and Language for Life: Where Linguistics Meets Teaching.
About Australia Reads
Australia Reads is a not-for-profit collaboration of the Australian Library and Information Association, Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Society of Authors and the BookPeople, working with members of all four organisations. They believe that reading is the key to a healthier, happier and a more connected nation. As a champion for storytelling, Australia Reads promotes the positive impacts of books and reading on our society. To read more about The National Reading Survey 2021 visit australiareads.org.au/research