As an ex-university student, I bet I can vouch for the majority of you undergraduate students when I say that reading voluntarily throughout your studies probably isn’t something that features anywhere near the top of your student priorities - after all, you can’t even stick to all of the reading given to you by your course tutors … am I right?
Throughout the duration of my course while I was at university, I was consistently reminded about the value of reading other people’s work in order to help stimulate thoughts and ideas of my own. And, even though it may have entered into one ear, and flown out of the other at the time, it was only upon leaving university that I actually realised the true value of this advice.
So, in order to help all of you still at university excel in your forthcoming studies, here are a few reasons why picking up a book for pleasure may just help you reach those coveted first-grade marks:
Start With Something That Interests You
When I talk about reading here, I don’t just mean succumbing to that reading list you’ve been given in your course or module handbook. Because, 9 times out of 10 ‘reading’ that textbook just involves scanning the page to help you pull out that quote or bit of information for the essay that’s due in at the end of the semester.
So, a good tip is to start with something you’ll actually enjoy reading and that you know will keep you interested – maybe a fictional novel, an autobiography, a hobby magazine, or even an online blog.
Because once you’ve got something you love, then sticking to reading and continuing to read will be infinitely easier and more enjoyable.
Develop Sentencing Structure and Tone
First and foremost, reading books will undoubtedly help to improve the sentencing structure of your own work when you’re writing essays or sitting an exam. Seeing how others set out their sentences, the kind of rich language they weave into the story, as well as what grammar they use, may just help you to develop your own structure and style when you’re writing your own material.
And, what’s more, all of this will help you to further improve the ‘voice’ and the tone of your writing style – the more you read, the more you’ll learn about other writers writing style and over time, it’ll help you to develop your very own technique.
Learn New Words
We all know what it’s like when we’re reading a book and we stumble upon a word that we haven’t got a clue of the meaning of. But, believe it or not, this is another reason why reading will benefit your university studies – because, finding more of these difficult words and taking the time to find out what they mean, will enable you to use them when you’re writing essays and assignments. Think how impressed your module tutor will be.
Using these new words in the right context when holding a conversation will also improve your spoken vocabulary, making you sound knowledgeable and intelligent!
I am well aware that at university, the definition of ‘relaxing’ and ‘leisure time’ means spending it down at the Students’ Union with your friends enjoying a drink or two, and you’d quite happily shun the idea of reading of a book in order to do so. But, hear me out, because getting lost in a book is a great way to wind down, relax and keep your brain ticking all at the same time.
Feeling a little bit stressed with a coursework deadline that’s looming? Well try spending half an hour a day, reading a book for pleasure and it might just help you wind-down and give you a little burst of creative inspiration.
It’s a much healthier alternative to a night at the Union!
If you really love reading, you might also want to check out degrees in English Literature
This article was written by Ella Mason, an experienced freelanced writer who specialises in providing advice for university students.