by Natalie Stewart
“Not every reader writes, but every writer reads.”
Michael Kardos, The Art and Craft of Fiction
Reading for pleasure usually refers to reading novels, short stories, and poems, but can also include anything that is read for the sake of enjoyment.
Reading only what is required – textbooks, journal articles, etc. – can limit the range of a student’s writing style. When students read for pleasure, they are exposed to a wider range of genres, words, phrases, and styles. Additionally, they are likely to encounter idioms, metaphors, similes, and slang that can help them navigate spoken conversations. Reading for pleasure allows students to experience, explore, and experiment with a much greater variety of linguistic tools, and therefore become better writers.
The primary reason that students do not read recreationally is limited time. E-readers and E-book apps can be helpful for this, as students can use time spent on the bus or in lineups to read in short bursts. This practice of reading a little at a time also teaches a useful skill: the ability to recall and connect segmented information.
If you don’t know what to read for pleasure, think about other forms of entertainment you enjoy. It is easy to find novels that are similar to your favourite movies, TV shows, or video games, and a simple Google search can help you locate blogs and magazines related to your hobbies and interests. Try asking your friends what they like to read, and don’t be afraid to experiment.