Reading plays a significant role in our lives. It’s how we learn, express ourselves, and communicate with others.
We’ve accumulated over 15 surprising statistics about reading and books, what our habits are, our reading preferences, and how our before-bed reading session could be extending our lifespan. Let’s get started.
Australian reading habits
According to one study, Australians read for 6 hours and 18 minutes a week on average – a little under an hour a day. So, how do we stack up globally? Not that great.
Less than seven hours of reading time puts us in 15th place, well outside of the top ten in the world. India topped the list, with the average citizen clocking almost 11 hours of reading each week.
Despite this, Aussies value books. A survey found that 92 per cent of Australians self-identify as ‘readers,’ the majority of which believe that books deliver far greater value than the price we pay for them.
The crime, mystery, and thriller genres are our favourites (followed closely by autobiography, biography, and memoir). We also support Australian authors and publishers, with 60 per cent of Australians believing that our authors should be published here in Australia.
Finally, almost two-thirds believe that books by Indigenous Australian writers enrich our country’s culture.
Reading and kids
Reading can be a lifechanging exercise for kids. One study examined the habits of kindergarten to year 12 students and found that just six extra minutes of reading time per day can help a struggling reader reach – and even surpass – the year level’s benchmark.
Students who read for 15 minutes or more per day improved their reading skills at an accelerated rate.
According to a paper out of the University of California, kids are exposed to 50 per cent more words through children’s books compared to TV. Here in Australia, kids watch an average of 317 minutes of TV per week.
Reading and aging
The secret to eternal youth may just be perched on our bookshelves.
A 2016 study found that, over a 12 year period, book readers had a 20 per cent reduction in ‘risk of mortality.’
Reading stimulates our mind, which can help protect against cognitive decline. According to one study, both early- and late-life ‘cognitive’ tasks (including reading) can help our minds remain up to 14 per cent sharper than our less active peers.
Another study found that participants who regularly engaged in activities like reading, chess, and puzzles were 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Reading and feeling good
According to Quick Reads, adults that read for just 30 minutes a week were 20 per cent more likely to feel satisfied with their lives. Four out of 10 surveyed individuals cited ‘lack of time’ as the main reason they didn’t read more.
Another study demonstrated the incredible stress-relieving power of reading. Reading reduced feelings of stress in participants by 68 per cent, a figure much higher than having a cup of tea, taking a walk, or listening to music.
Reading and success
Will reading make you more successful? We’ll let you decide. Check out these reading stats from the Huffington Post:
- Bill Gates, the principal founder of Microsoft, reads 50 books a year. That’s almost a book a week.
- When asked how he learned to build rockets, future-thinker and technology entrepreneur Elon Musk said, ‘I read books.’
- Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, has made it his mission to read a book every two weeks.
The power of reading
There’s no doubt about it – reading is good for us. And reading a book that’s well-designed makes the experience a true pleasure.