Should teens read novels? Though this question should not be asked in the first place, if someone asks such a question, there must be an answer. Yes, teens or anyone else must read novels. Follow-up questions, in such cases, might be more helpful. What are some immediate and long-term benefits they can have from reading novels? Also, what types of novels should they read? And, I will also add, should they read more often compared to spending time playing online games or just casually browsing social media? In this detailed article, we will discuss some important points and try to prove how reading novels can be more useful and beneficial for teenagers compared to doing anything else in the domain of recreation. However, it does not mean one cannot do anything else and just read. Do everything else. However, when it comes to choosing between reading and something unproductive, read!
To be honest, I fully agree that encouraging teenagers to read novels is a worthwhile endeavour that can bring numerous benefits to their personal, intellectual, and emotional development. Just look around, in an era dominated by digital distractions, what options do we have for a productive hour of recreation? Leave meditation and Yoga aside because these are not for the purposes of recreation. And there comes the act of reading novels – it offers unique advantages that extend far beyond immediate enjoyment. Below, in a dedicated section, I will discuss the immediate and long-term benefits of reading novels for teens (or for anyone who is young), the types of novels they should consider, and highlight the advantages of reading compared to online surfing and gaming. Are you ready, my young friends?
Immediate Benefits of Reading Novels for Teens:
1. Enhanced Vocabulary and Language Skills:
Who does not want to learn new words and use new styles of expression? And you can get these things by reading novels. Reading a variety of novels exposes teenagers to a wide range of vocabulary and language styles. Without a doubt, it expands their vocabulary, improves their grammar, and helps them develop a better command of language. As a definite result, therefore, it enhances their communication skills, both written and verbal. So, here we have our immediate benefit number one… which may also translate into a long-term benefit if someone tries to pursue a career in writing or teaching.
2. Improved Cognitive Abilities:
There might be debates about it. However, many experts believe that novels stimulate critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Let us consider these points. We know that reading requires comprehension, interpretation, and analysis. And thus, as an act, reading is fostering cognitive development in teenagers. Reading quality novels? Yes, engaging with complex narratives and diverse characters broadens their perspectives and encourages them to think critically about various issues and viewpoints. Therefore, I do think that reading novels can bring cognitive benefits to teens! What do you think?
3. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence:
I have the third immediate benefit of reading novels for teens right here! It fosters empathy, compassion, and a broader understanding of human emotions and experiences. Yes, because reading novels allows teenagers to experience different emotions and empathise with the characters, it certainly helps develop their emotional intelligence by increasing their ability to understand and relate to the feelings of others. Teenagers can learn to help others who suffer and support their friends when they are down by reading good novels.
Now what? Do you need more reasons to start reading novels? I will give you those. However, if you have had enough reasons to begin a reading spree right now, here is something that will interest you even more. I give you a wonderful, curated and carefully made list of must read novels for teenagers – best novels for teens. (The link will open in a new tab so that you can have a look at it and come back easily if you want by activating this tab.) Also, if you want to keep reading the benefits that reading novels brings to teens, keep reading. Below are some long-term benefits mentioned in detail.
1. Expanded Knowledge and Understanding:
Quality novels bring more than merely entertainment to the table. Novels have a richness that may expose teenagers to diverse cultures, historical periods, social issues, and psychological complexities. Through reading such works, they gain knowledge and a deeper understanding of the world, different societies, and human nature. As a result, this broadened perspective cultivates a sense of empathy, cultural awareness, and tolerance. Teenagers learn to respect points of view different from theirs and also understand much more. So, keep reading!
2. Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills:
As mentioned above, engaging with quality novels bring much more than only entertainment and temporary joy. If you regularly engage with complex narratives you get critical thinking as a gift. Observing, understanding and reading about character development and decoding plot structures gives certain raise to critical thinking and analytical skills in teenagers. They learn to evaluate information, make connections, identify themes, and analyse deeper meanings within the text. These skills extend beyond literature and can be applied to various academic and real-life situations.
3. Imagination and Creativity:
Yeah, creativity is something that can be developed gradually. Reading novels fuels the imagination and sparks creativity. It encourages teens to visualise characters, settings, and events, fostering their creative thinking abilities. This imaginative engagement can inspire them to explore their own artistic pursuits, such as writing, painting, or storytelling. So, if you have the spark to write, the best thing that you can start with is reading novels at an early age!
Now, I will discuss the best types of novels that teens can read, enjoy and learn.
Types of Novels for Teens:
I have a different opinion. Rather than suggesting reading this and avoiding that, I will say teens should read a diverse range of novels that align with their interests and offer exposure to various genres, themes, and writing styles. They should freely explore classic literature, contemporary fiction, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, and realistic fiction. It is crucial to strike a balance between entertaining and challenging reads to foster a love for reading and also get the best output from the act of reading novels. So, never hesitate from reading challenging Russian novels by Dostoevsky or reading casual contemporary fiction by romance writers.
As promised above, I am also discussing the benefits that reading novels brings compared to spending time on the internet or playing games. Read the inputs mentioned below carefully. I hope you will get the message right!
Advantages of Reading Novels Compared to Online Surfing and Gaming:
1. Intellectual Stimulation:
Reading novels engages the mind in a way that online surfing or gaming often fails to achieve. It requires active mental participation, promoting cognitive growth and intellectual stimulation. One may argue that gaming may also bring these levels of stimulation. However, that might be at the cost of an eventual decline in the same coupled with a loss of eyesight as you spend more time watching the screen.
2. Enhanced Focus and Concentration:
Reading novels demands sustained attention and focus, which can strengthen teenagers’ ability to concentrate for extended periods. In contrast, online surfing and gaming tend to encourage fragmented attention and multitasking.
3. Language Development:
Reading novels helps improve language skills, vocabulary, and grammar. In contrast, online surfing and gaming often involve brief and informal communication, which may not contribute to language development. Many Indian teens have started casually abusing and almost adopted the same level of language in their day-to-day conversations. If you want to save yourself from this, start reading novels instead of playing games.
4. Emotional Engagement and Empathy:
Novels offer a more immersive and emotionally engaging experience compared to online activities or gaming. Reading allows teenagers to develop empathy, understand different perspectives, and explore complex emotions. On the other hand, playing violent games might make you violent as well!
So, if you have read the article thus far, you must understand that teenagers have much more to gain if they start reading novels at an early age. I am not suggesting that one should not play games or do other activities, once again. I am just saying that focus on activities that have more for you than it takes from you. Online gaming or social media might bring temporary joy and satisfaction. However, in the long run, these things seldom add any skill that you can use in your day-to-day life. On the other hand, by reading novels, you can learn the language better, get cultural details, widen your knowledge and expand the horizon of your overall understanding of the world around you. So, rather than wasting your time watching gameplay on YouTube, I would suggest you read novels. Start with basic works of fiction to get accustomed and then gradually move towards the landmarks of literature. I am sure you will become better day by day and reach a good distance in different directions of life. Also, read novels in the languages you know. If you are learning a new language, read the novels in the same language to take your skills to a different level. Enjoy! All the best!
By Alka for Desi Readers