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Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Undermining Pleasure of Reading Books Together in Bed with Your Partner

Reading books by itself gives your mind a great pleasure. That’s why they say, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”. There is no great pleasure than reading your books together in bed at around 9pm when it’s quiet, save for the rustle of the leaves in the garden outside. Reading books together with your partner in bed before sleeping is the most precious moments that you should never miss out on. 

Do You Love Quotes on Reading Books? Read one here. 

Today, I am going to discuss about the undermining pleasure of reading books together in bed with your partner. 

Imagine you are in bed with your partner side by side, each absorbed in a different world. One of you might be in a submarine beneath the arctic ice floe while the other is flitting through the salons of 18th century Paris. Often your toes momentarily touch each other but without raising notice. You may briefly stretch a hand to touch the nape of your partner’s neck while turning a page. You can hear your partner breathing very lightly. There is blessedly so much of feelings and emotions going on which need no description. And this goes on for what might seem to be an hour or more. 

This my friend, is the modest, most comfortable and sweet pleasure which our present society is almost congenitally prone not to notice or respect.  

However, let me tell you reading books together with your partner in bed is one of the bedtime activities you can do to help you grow in your relationship. When you are asked to picture what a relationship might be for us, often we imagine the typical colorful scenarios of having passionate sex up against a wall, heading for the airport for a mini-break, a celebration of a triumph at work or the mutual exploration of one another’s soul.  

It is rarely that we understand that the true pleasure of long-term love in a far less dramatic, real and simple scenarios such as knowing sideways smile of your partner in the presence of a parent who has been tricky in the past, sitting on the floor together sorting socks after wash, watching a TV drama episode by episode and bantering about the plotlines and characters, chatting with each other after the friends who came for lunch or dinner have departed, and assembling a flat pack bookcase realizing that you both have got the instructions entirely wrong and laughing your heart out on the funny scene that it has now become. 

It is within such a list of hidden pleasures that we find the joy of reading bed together. This represents a major psychological skill but there’s not really anyone else we could do this with. If the world were fairer, we would be seeking partners not just who can look hot in a bar and perform spectacular sexual antics, but those with whom we can turn pages in silence as well. 

Reading books together in bed is a symbolic way of being able to share our true selves without shame, embarrassment or the need to perform. As we lie in bed together reading books with our partner, we are in the rest of life and feel simply accepted by each other.  

We tend to be so much aware of the troubles in our relationship, that we sometimes take the peaceful moments for granted and fail to appreciate the underlying achievement. Though reading together in bed with our partner may lack glamour but being able to read with someone you love is a major milestone. The pleasure of reading books together in bed is a sign of deep affection and we may do well in our relationship than we think. Stay tuned to know the Benefits of Reading Bedtime Stories to Your Children which I’ll be covering in my upcoming posts.  

Until then, this is Nyasa signing off.

Don’t forget to share your pleasure of reading books together in bed with your partner. 😉

Friday, October 19, 2018

Can Reading Books Improve Vocabulary?

Being an avid reader, I obviously enjoy reading books as well as writing. Ever since I was little, I was quite gravitated towards the language classes especially English as compared to other subjects. It’s not uncommon for my friends to ask me to read over their essay’s and other writing assignments because they think I’m quite “good with words”. I will attribute my knowledge of English language and vocabulary to reading books, a lot of them every year. Although I prefer reading books for my personal enjoyment, I cannot deny the fact the I get to know more about different people and their cultures, which helps me to stay grounded and open up my understanding towards the bigger world surrounding me.

My habit of reading books has through the years helped me to decipher the words and pick up on contextual clues easily. However, is someone presented me with a math problem with a complexity transcending beyond simple addition, subtraction, multiplication or division, then I would be at a loss to find a solution. My struggle or inability to find out the solution to the math problem may possibly have nothing to do with my intelligence instead it could be because of less exposure to that type of material.

That is why I accredit my vocabulary to the habit of reading that I had from my childhood days. This habitual reading has helped me to improve my vocabulary as well as the cognitive reading skills such as reading, spelling, word recognition and critical thinking. No doubt, the number of years I was engrossed with reading books has helped me with my academic growth as well. To put it across in other words, the time spent on reading books and the level of my cognitive skills has a correlation.

There was a study conducted by Anne Cunningham and Keith Stanovich in the year 2001 which was designed to test whether or not reading novels have an impact on the advancement of a person’s vocabulary over time as well the type of medium in which children were exposed to most words. In this study, the first-grade students were asked to write how often they read every day in a journal. The scientists then followed up with the same group of students when they reached the eleventh grade and had them complete the tasks involving reading comprehension and vocabulary. The scores from those tasks were then compared to each of the students’ journal from first-grade to find a correlation between the number of hours each child documented when they were in first grade and the score of the tasks in current grade i.e. eleventh.
The results showed that being exposed to reading at an early age helps to predict those children who will be likely to read more over the years. Because the longer experience with reading books these children did show an increased vocabulary and cognitive reading skills. The scientists also proved that reading novels exposes children to more words than any other source such as magazines, television, conversations, etc.

So, this study proves my point accurately, that consistently reading books does improve vocabulary irrespective of inborn intelligence. However, the above study doesn’t mention about the difficulty level of the novels that lead to an increased vocabulary. Also, it doesn’t explain how these students learned the new words, I mean by using a dictionary for the definition, searching online, asking someone about the meaning of the word, or by using contextual evidence to make an inference. Also, does a formal or informal definition of a new word help a child to commit the word into their memory. 

Did You Know? 

An average American has a vocabulary in thousands. Whereas Indian children are rarely guided by their parents to form reading habits. I don’t want to underestimate anybody as we Indians have a lot of variety when it comes to reading books, I mean we have books being published in different languages other than English or even our official language Hindi.
So, without ranting about why few Indians are in to the habits of reading books, I’ll discuss below about how we can try to get into the habit of reading books. 

1) Read books to your children or use your tablet to read books

This will be beneficial for both parents and children as it will improve your vocabulary. This winter, read bedtime stories snuggled under the covers. According to the professor of Childhood and Literacy Education at Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at the New York University, Susan Neuman, “The words present the in most children’s books are usually beyond the realm of an adult’s daily life, which is why even parents can learn more words by simply reading it to their children.”

Reading books on your tablet or Kindle will provide you with an altogether different experience. Next time you are reading an e-book and come across a word you aren’t familiar with, try highlighting it with your finger and the built-in dictionary will come to your rescue. The best part is you won’t lose your place or have to switch between googling the meaning of the word and your novel. 

2) Join a book club 

Book clubs are a wonderful strategy to help you learn new words. It will not only force you to set aside time in your day to read, but it’s a good way to discover new books I mean new genre of books that you might not be normally drawn to which in turn will expose you to new words thereby improve your vocabulary. 

3) Read, Read and Read 

I can’t stress enough but try making a little time every day to read. According to Neuman, “Reading on a regular basis is tied to improved cognitive functioning throughout life because you are always learning.” Even if you stop looking up every single foreign word, chances are that you can simply improve your vocabulary by figuring out its meaning based on the context they are used in or by coming across them again down the line. 

Share your thoughts and experience of book reading so far.

Until next post, this is Nyasa signing off. 

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