Reading, we are taught at a young age, is a very important skill. We are so accustomed to hearing how important reading is, we can lose sight of some important facts. 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read. Those numbers seem staggering! Imagine graduating high school and NOT being able to read.
Here are some more stats for you: According to the Department of Justice, “The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure.” The stats back up this claim: 85 percent of all juveniles who become involved with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, and over 70 percent of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level, according to BeginToRead.com. 70%!!!
Here is the last staggering statistic before we move on to the opposite side of the coin: the literacy rate in the Unites States hasn’t changed much over the last 10 years. A complete decade of a stagnant literacy rate in one of the most developed countries in the world.
Take a look at what successful people do. I didn’t say rich. I said successful. Bill Gates reads about 50 books per year. Mark Cuban reads more than 3 hours every day. Elon Musk is an avid reader and when asked how he learned to build rockets, he said “I read books. Mark Zuckerberg resolved to read a book every 2 weeks throughout 2015. If success isn’t what drives you, let’s look at the health benefits of reading. Reading has been shown to help prevent stress, depression, and dementia, while enhancing confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction.
So what are successful people reading. Well, it’s not the later 50 Shades (porn for women) or the latest Lord of the Rings (although reading fiction can have it’s place), According to Tom Corley, author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, rich people (annual income of $160,000 or more and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million-plus) read for self-improvement, education, and success. Whereas poor people (annual income of $35,000 or less and a liquid net worth of $5,000 or less) read primarily to be entertained. Tom goes on to say 67 percent of rich people only watch TV for one hour or less per day. Corley also found only 6 percent of the wealthy watch reality shows, while 78 percent of the poor do. Additionally, 86 percent of the wealthy love to read with an impressive 88 percent claiming that they read for self-improvement for 30 minutes or more per day.
Now to be clear, I don’t think 10 minutes of reading per day is enough. I think you should be hitting around and hour minimum. I just happen to set aside those 10 minutes in my morning routine because I want to build reading into my morning habits.
So what am I reading? Right now, I am reading Be Our Guest by The Disney Institute. Have been through 15 books this year and I hope to have 25 knocked out before the end of the year. I used to favor audiobooks over physical or Kindle books due to my Atlanta traffic commute. I have switched back to physical and Kindle books since I no longer have the drive to and from Smyrna every day (3 hours of my life reclaimed).
Take some time to cuddle up with a book every morning. Make it something you enjoy. If you decide to integrate reading into your morning routine, give me a shout and let me know what you are reading. I would love to cheer you on!