The Benefits of Reading Fiction

The Benefits of Reading Fiction

As a lecturer in English, I am often asked by my students whether it is better to read fiction books rather than non-fiction ones. At first, I am especially thrilled that my students are interested to read, but I also find the question to be intriguing, if not baffling: What is behind the idea that reading non-fiction is better than reading fiction? And is this necessarily true? Fiction may merely be enjoyable, whereas non-fiction can be intellectually stimulating. But is being engrossed with a good book actually be better and more important for us to pursue, rather than choosing to read a non-fiction book over a literary fiction?

Through reading fiction,  our imagination blossoms. Literary fiction is an incredible example of art because it allows remarkable room for our own interpretation.

Well, I’ve found out that reading fiction can also bring a host  of advantages to readers. Several studies reveal that reading fiction improves empathy and thus makes one more likely to suspend judgement of different values and participate in compassionate behaviour. Isn’t that those fairy tales that were read to us when we were young helped us with our concept of what is right and what is wrong?

Through reading fiction,  our imagination blossoms. Literary fiction is an incredible example of art because it allows remarkable room for our own interpretation. Simply put: You’re given a direction, but you create the path. With expanded creativity, you discover new ideas that can take any idea to the next level.

More than just arousing our imaginations, it is also by reading fictions such as Jane Austen’s novels that I have found myself, and in the process realised my true emotions when reading, as well as my  wants and needs. When we read, the fetters of social pressure are released, and we find ourselves looking at life in the perspective we’ve always believed to be true but hid from ourselves and others. This helps us discern our most important priorities including goals for personal improvement.

Reading can also provide us  a sense of calm in just a few minutes. A 2009 study by the University of Sussex has revealed that by reading for six minutes, it can help us reduce our stress levels by up to 68 per cent. This could be because as we focus on the emerging plot our minds begin to wander and relax.

But I still have to give credit to non-fiction works because it is from them that we gain knowledge (useful facts and information). However, it is  fiction which reveals wisdom, or the ability to apply knowledge, through an exposure to various intricate and imagined situations.

Whether you are a student or otherwise, you will read: be it newspaper, poem, biography, etc. Arguably, curling up with a captivating novel every now and then may not be “practical” in that it will not help us gain “practical knowledge”, but it should remain a part of our lives. In an increasingly utilitarian, technology-oriented society, fiction has become ever more relevant. It is more relevant than non-fiction because it possesses the ability to make us humans. As a lecturer, I certainly believe that novels, with each crispy page, help us discover a better version of ourselves.


Rona dela Rosa is a lecturer in the Department of English at the Polytechnic College of the City of Meycauyan in the Philippines. As a PhD student (English Language Studies) at Bulacan State University, her research interest includes educational psychology and applied linguistics. More recently she has explored the reading abilities among adolescent second language readers. You can see some of her published works on her Google Scholar profile. You can follow her on Twitter @itismerona

 


 

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  1. Fiction is a big part of our lives because from our childhood some of us read stories specially during the days when we are about to sleep as a child. And I think that through that I became imaginative as a child. It helps me to make my world bigger.

    Reply
  2. As a reader of fiction and non- fiction. I find them both useful and reliable. But I find fiction comfortable and always felt at ease. Because, in reading fiction I can imagine the things that is closely connected to reality. And it helps my perspective to be broad, rational yet creative.

    Reply
  3. I love reading stories, fiction or n0n-fiction cause it helps me a lot in my vocabulary enhancement. Reading bo0ks is a great help for those individual who has limited vocab. Reading both fiction and non fiction will benefits you in any ways that you want. But sometimes I chose to read fiction bo0ks cause it arouse my curiosity and imagination.

    Reply
  4. I am a big fan of fiction stories. It helps me to relaxed my mind and arouses my imagination. I can also get some ideas from these stories and use it in my everyday life to make it more exciting and helps me to get positive vibes. I also uses it while having a convo with my friends, just to have more lively and happy talks.. You may think that I am weird with this but this is what I\’ve observed, some of my imaginations became real.. I dont know why. Maybe because, these imaginations are our real desire to happen within us and that strong desire pushes us that imiganitions can really happen with the help of our acts and strong will … 🙂

    Reply
  5. Reading fiction really help us to boost and enhance our reading skills and our critical thinking. Also it is the process to realised our true emotions when we are reading, as well as our wants and needs.When we are reading gives us more knowledge which can apply in the reality of life.

    Reply
  6. As a student, reading fiction helps me to become imaginative,exposed to many ideas and also helps me enhanced my vocabulary skills and reading comprehension.

    I love reading because it is enjoyable and less stress na rin.

    Reply
  7. I do really love reading, whether fiction or non. It helps me to widens my vocabulary as well as how it allows me to have my own interpretation regarding on what I have read. And aside from learning or to the lessons that it wants us to remembered, it also stand as a tool to escape from reality even for a short period of time.

    Reply
    1. Christine Anne Hernandez · Edit

      i love reading fiction when i have a free time, because it help me a lot to imagine the real happen in the story. reading fiction is one of my way to learn something, that I like to experience but I cannot afford . reading fiction is help me to learn and at the same give me an experience by imagining what I am reading.

      Reply
  8. Christine Anne Hernandez · Edit

    i love reading fiction when i have a free time, because it help me a lot to imagine the real happen in the story. reading fiction is one of my way to learn something, that I like to experience but I cannot afford . reading fiction is help me to learn and at the same give me an experience by imagining what I am reading.
    🙂

    Reply
  9. Indeed, reading literary fictions help me nurture my imagination and ease my stress. Through reading such pieces, I learn to forget my problems even just for a while. I am not a naturally artistic person. I consider myself as an introvert one and reading fiction books really help me to be more imaginative without myself being forced. For me, reading fiction naturally brings out the art of imagination in me.
    Reading fiction books are like plowing seeds on a field. It will start from a leafless plant and as time goes by, leaves start to grow and flowers start to bloom, just like how fiction stories carry us to deeper stories of different themes. And at the end, we will end up gaining the benefits of reading which can help us develop ourselves too.

    Reply
  10. This helps us discern our most important priorities including goals for personal improvement.
    This part has tapped me because I’ve already experienced how fiction books can inspire people and relieve stress. I really believe that reading literary fiction is a big help for us, no matter what profession we have, and just like how we judge the relevance of those information we read from non-fiction books, so as how fiction books teach us to create our own interpretations in relation with our personal perspectives. There are some literary pieces which seem to have the right language to communicate with our hearts, those ones which allows us to realise such values and beliefs which can nourish our personal growth.

    Reply
  11. Reading a particular literary pieces such as fiction could somehow stimulate our imagination. It can lessen our stress while reading and it makes us feel that we are belong to the world that the author created with the use of his masterpieces and our imagination and the used of words that captivate us. It really helps to add a little bit of excitement in the story. It amplifies you to think creatively by imagining the setting, characteristics of the characters, the mood, etc. It helps us to enhance our understanding about the social scenario that is happening nowadays in our society before we go off and face the world. After reading fiction, it helps us to improve our consciousness and considering the views of other’s. So it is totally evident that we can get a lot of benefits in reading fiction. It is not just about for pleasure but for further understanding of what the world could truly offered to you. It is just a matter of willingness and passion to grab a book, read it and share to the world what you have read. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Reply
  12. Fiction helps us to enhance our imagination and to formulate judgement after. While, in a broad sense of reading, non fiction helps us to understand the real life circumstances. What makes a man’s intellectual capacity more profound is that, he/she ponders more about realisations and life lessons that make him/her more different than others.

    Reading is a way to discover the meaning underlies within the words. Either fiction or non fiction, readers always include prior knowledge, background experiences, and a total immersion of themselves (application of what have they learned from reading material) for the assimilation and accommodation of new knowledge, and begin the process of inference. It is indeed powerful, of course in many ways, in making one to bring out the best version of himself/herself as he/she deals with the world through written text.

    Reply
  13. Fiction stories are really catchy especially for the kids and teenagers who loves to read and it will arouse your imagination and wandered your mind just by reading. I also love to read especially fiction stories because it helps me to get relaxed and wandered my mind to discover new things. It allows the person to discover herself more.

    Reply
  14. I really love reading books whether it be fiction or non-fiction. But I read most of fiction stories, especially in my childhood. Through reading such literary pieces, my vocabulary gets widen and it arouses my imagination. Likewise, reading fiction stories helps me to escape from the reality in just a moment and relieves my stress. But reading non-fiction is also important because from those piece we’ve gained knowledge. =)

    Reply
  15. Reading fiction is a great fun reading not only to relieve stress but also arouse our fresh mind. Fiction helps us to feel what\’s inside of an imagination. Fiction books are more interesting than Non-fiction why? because we can see and feel through imagination the non existing character with a great description of what the fiction talked about. It is helpful to widen our mind through the new world that doesn\’t exist and we learn things through the words
    written on the fiction book.

    Reply
  16. As an individual I read. I read anything, works of fiction or non-fiction. Fiction entertains me through the creativity of the writers while non-fiction guides me on what is the reality. Both are very much helpful in discovering oneself.

    Reply
  17. Jonas Elton Felicilda · Edit

    Yeah, it’s more interesting to read fiction books. It tickles our imagination, bring us to different worlds and helps us escape from the sad realities of life (insert Adele song, Hu-hu!). Literary fictions are the reflections of the unfathomable length of human mind while non-fictions are the result of man\’s curiosity of the real world. Hence, Both are essential in making yourself broad-minded reader.

    Reply
  18. I used to read fiction books and it really makes me feel so relaxed that I can escape from reality even for a while. Aside from that, after reading fiction works I found myself learning new words, widens my imagination thus helping me to think deeply. Some people will choose to read non fiction works rather than fiction little they didn\’t know that fiction works are the same with non fiction ones.

    Reply
  19. I am fond of reading, whether it is fiction or non-fiction. It really helps me released my stress. Reading is my “me time”. Reading keeps on inspiring and motivating me. It teaches me a lot not only how to be a good mother but also how to be a better person.

    Reply
  20. Ayumi Dela Cruz Ganda · Edit

    Reading fictional stories helps one\\\’s mind to reach its inner peace and be at their comfort-zones and safe havens. It brings empathy to one\\\’s perception of life. We cannot deny the fact that reading fiction is one of the most reliable ways to exercise our brain: It helps my own way of thinking to be tremendously flexible, and it also enhances my intellectual skills. Every time I read fictional books, it relieves my worries and stresses in life for it temporarily helps me escape the torturous reality. It also helps me to become more imaginative—as words on the pages trigger my mind\\\’s mere creativity.

    Reply
  21. Ayumi Ashley Dela Cruz · Edit

    Reading fictional stories helps one\’s mind to reach its inner peace and be at their comfort-zones and safe havens. It brings empathy to one\’s perception of life. We cannot deny the fact that reading fiction is one of the most reliable ways to exercise our brain: It helps my own way of thinking to be tremendously flexible, and it also enhances my intellectual skills. Every time I read fictional books, it relieves my worries and stresses in life for it temporarily helps me escape the torturous reality. It also helps me to become more imaginative—as words on the pages trigger my mind\’s creativity.

    Reply
  22. Reading fictional stories helps one\’s mind to reach its inner peace and be at their comfort-zones and safe havens. It brings empathy to one\’s perception of life. We cannot deny the fact that reading fiction is one of the most reliable ways to exercise our brain: It helps my own way of thinking to be tremendously flexible, and it also enhances my intellectual skills. Every time I read fictional books, it relieves my worries and stresses in life for it temporarily helps me escape the torturous reality. It also helps me to become more imaginative—as words on the pages trigger my mind\’s mere creativity.

    Reply
  23. Reading fictional or non fictional story is one of the ways to relieve stress 😀 . Aside from that, this will let us be more imaginative 😀 ….
    and yet I found myself enjoying in reading fictions.
    In fact, reading is an essential skill for it is always apply in everyday life– in every day conversations with others, in every action we do and so on…

    Reply
  24. Reading Fictional or non fictional story is one of the ways to relieve stress 😀 . Aside from that, this will let us be more imaginative 😀 ….
    and yet I found myself enjoying in reading fictions.
    In fact, reading is an essential skill for it is always apply in everyday life– in every day conversations with others, in every action we do and so on..

    Reply
  25. Reading fictional or non fictional story is one of the ways to relieve stress and asides from that, this will let us be more imaginative. Yet, I found myself enjoying in reading fictional stories…
    In fact, reading is an essential skill for it is always use in every day life– in every conversation with others, action, so on..

    Reply
  26. Reading fictional or non fictional story is one of the ways to relieve stress and aside from that, this will let us be more imaginative. Yet, I found myself enjoying in reading fictional stories…
    In fact, reading is an essential skill for it is always use in every day life– in every conversation with others, action, so on..

    Reply
  27. Reading fictional or non fictional story is one of the ways to relieve stress and asides from that, this will let us be more imaginative. Yet, I found myself enjoying in reading fictional stories…
    In fact, reading is an essential skill for it is always use in every day life– in every conversation with others, action, other activities, so on..

    Reply
  28. Reading fictional or non fictional story is one of the ways to relieve stress. Aside from that, it widens our maginations. Yeah, I found myself enjoying in reading fictional stories…
    In fact, reading is an essential skill for it is always use in every day life– in every conversation with others, action, other activities, so on..

    Reply
  29. Reading fiction stories is one of my hobbies. Honestly speaking, I love reading fiction books rather than textbook because it really imagine things than never happen in real world.

    Reply
  30. Reading fiction can really enhance and tickles the minds of the readers, this literary piece let the readers use their imagination it can also widen our vocabulary and improve our communication skill, but let us not forget to read non-fiction books, in which we can learn about facts and be aware of the latest happenings, both fiction or non-fiction books are important, not just for us future teachers but for of us humans.

    Reply
  31. Reading fiction books, really enhance and tickles the imagination and creative thinking of the readers, this can also release stress, it will also widen our vocabulary and improve our communication skills, but let us not set aside reading a non-fiction books where in we can get and learn more about facts that will also help us. Reading is not just for us future teachers, but for all of us humans, let us encourage others to read, especially the youths.

    Reply
  32. Reading fiction books, really enhance and tickles the imagination and creative thinking of the readers, this can also release stress, it will also widen our vocabulary and improve our communication skills, but let us not set aside reading a non-fiction books where in we can get and learn more about facts that will also help us. Reading is not just for us future teachers, but for all of us humans, let us encourage others to read, especially the youths…

    Reply
  33. We must read even if it\’s fiction or non-fiction. Fiction helps us to be more imaginative, creative and gives some lessons. We must know the importance of reading in our lives.

    Reply
  34. We must read even if it\’s fiction or non-fiction. But fiction helps us to be more imaginative, creative and it gives us some lessons. We must know the importance of reading in our lives because someday, you\’ll regret it.

    Reply
  35. We must read even if it\’s fiction or non-fiction. But fiction helps us to be more imaginative, creative and it gives us some lessons. We must know the importance of reading in our lives because someday you\’ll regret it

    Reply
  36. We must read even if it\’s fiction or non-fiction. But fiction helps us to be more imaginative, creative and it gives us some lessons. We must know the importance of reading in our lives because someday, you\’ll regret it.

    Reply
  37. In the midst of our busy and chaotic world we rarely find solitude and sanity. Well, reading has been known as a person’s way of bringing himself into a different world, but for me it is not just a way of escaping from reality, because the realities of life will always be there. What fictions and fantasies tell us is that there is a need to change that reality. I believe that authors have a burden to make this world a better place and that can be reflected and seen in their works. Maybe not directly but somehow gives us an idea that the realities of life will always be there and as a part of this world, just like all the characters in a story, we have a vital role to play. Fiction does not take us away from the reality, it makes us realise even more that the world we are living in is really far from the beautiful things we see in fictional books. As we read further and get into the story deeper we realise that life is really not like what we see on films and what we read on books.

    Reply
  38. Sometimes I read those fiction stories and I love reading it. because i believe that through reading those thing, will help me to be more imaginative and what we read we will adapt it too and used it in our daily life. Im glad to know that this article is promote the essence of tha

    Reply
  39. Pamelalyn G. Lindayag · Edit

    I actually really like reading fiction stories it’s because it makes me imagined of the impossible things.Reading fiction stories can lead us to the world without stress it also can help us to be more creative and imaginative. I believe that fiction writers are really good writers it’s because they can able to apply the things that they know about their society.

    Reply
  40. I can say that yes, it is true that fiction is better than non-fiction because it makes us entertain, tends to be focusing on imaginary ideas and events and taken into a fake places than non-fiction that is said to be true, fact and real situations. Sometimes there are readers likes to read using their imaginations than thinking about the facts about something.

    Reply
  41. I also love reading fiction books as I can relate to the characters. It also gives me pleasure and enjoyment when I am bombarded with a lot of problems. This kind of books help me to widen my imagination and sometimes, I feel that I am in the same scenario along with the characters. I can feel their happiness, their sadness, and their success. For me, I can also have not just pleasure but also knowledge and wisdom about the views and cultures of other people.

    Reply
  42. I enjoy reading this blog because I also love reading fiction books as I can relate to the characters. It also gives me pleasure and enjoyment when I am bombarded with a lot of problems. This kind of books help me to widen my imagination and sometimes, I feel that I am in the same scenario along with the characters. I can feel their happiness, their sadness, and their success. For me, I can also have not just pleasure but also knowledge and wisdom about the views and cultures of other people.

    Reply
  43. Reading fiction not only develops our imagination and creativity, it gives us the skills to be alone. It gives us the ability to feel empathy for people we\’ve never met, living lives we couldn\’t possibly experience for ourselves, because the book puts us inside the character\’s skin.

    Reply
  44. I love reading fiction because reading fiction not only develops our imagination and creativity, it gives us the skills to be alone. It gives us the ability to feel empathy for people we\’ve never met, living lives we couldn\’t possibly experience for ourselves, because the book puts us inside the character\’s skin.

    Reply
  45. Mark Jason Saguisa · Edit

    this article is true. It\’s not always in non-fiction that we get info or facts. In reading fiction, a lot of people tend to enjoy books like this as they not only get info but they can also relate and imagine themselves to the characters that the authors are building up. they also provide us the feeling of being in a world we never expected to be into.

    Reply
  46. Marycon Satina Mercado · Edit

    fiction and non fiction are really helpful to us not only for the students but to all of us. when we want to escape from reality we can read fiction because it can entertain us through the use of its creativity and it is also helps us to develop our imagination.

    Reply
  47. Indeed. I love reading fiction. I am able to escape reality even just for a moment. Reading fiction also widens my imagination. Sometimes I imagine myself being the character in the story. Made me feel of something that reality never made me feel.

    Reply
  48. Reading is very important to all of us. As we communicate to others everyday through texts,chats, phone conversation or even face to face process there are thing that we tend to read. Reading could build the imagination and critical thinking of a person. If you know how to read it is your advantage to others who cannot read. It is only because wherever you go reading is always there. As an individual and student soon to be teacher majority of the examinations falls on reading. We must appreciate and give importance in reading. Through READING we can be able gain knowledge on what we are reading.

    Reply
    1. Reading helps us to learn more, especially when the story you are reading is fiction. Fiction helps us to escape from the reality. For a moment it gives us a satisfaction to keep our mind relax. Reading plays a vital role to us, it gives us a knowledge that we can use in our every day life.

      Reply
  49. Reading helps us to learn more, especially when the story you are reading is fiction. Fiction helps us to escape from the reality. For a moment it gives us a satisfaction to keep our mind relax. Reading plays a vital role to us, it gives us a knowledge that we can use in our every day life.

    Reply
  50. Reading helps us to learn more, especially when the story you are reading is fiction. Fiction helps us to escape from the reality. For a moment it gives us a satisfaction to keep our mind relax. Reading plays a vital role to us, it gives us a knowledge that we can use in our every day life.

    Reply

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