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What are the Benefits/Drawbacks of Reading Science Non-Fiction Vs. Sci-Fi Books?

By: Anna Khan

While science fiction may sell far more copies and have major blockbusters made for them, science non-fiction is often heralded as holding more in terms of quality writing and enriching impact on its readers. In reality, both science fiction and science non-fiction are crucial in development, for children and adults alike. 

In an article by Christine Seifert in the Harvard Business Review, it is recommended that managers encourage discussions on fictional literary content. This is because several different studies have shown a link between reading and social analysis of fiction and problem-solving skills.  This is a skill that is essential for pursuing a career in STEM of any kind, but fundamentally fictional literary comprehension should be included in all curricula. It inspires interest in a variety of topics, and introduces the internal thoughts and experiences of other people, fostering empathy in people of all ages. Science fiction especially may spark an interest in a field of study that a child can take to their other classes, motivating their love for learning. As a whole, society should not dismiss science fiction, no matter how far-fetched it is, it is still teaching adults and children some important skills.

Of course, non-fiction is still very important in STEM and SEL. Child development depends on the student to have a drive to learn new things. Well-written non-fiction provides the reader with a range of information on a specific topic. An article from Madison’s Library called ‘The Benefits of Reading Non-Fiction’ explains how students are more ready to discuss and retain the information they learn after reading it in a non-fictional expose. Some may think that at younger ages kids won't be interested in reading non-fiction, but encouraging children to read science non-fiction begins their exposer to scientific thought that will help them later in school and provide them with facts they can use to start conversations and share with their peers, increasing the knowledge of a whole classroom.

Overall, reading comprehension is essential for both children and adults whether they are pursuing a STEM career or not. Reading helps with social skills and helps a developing person to become more well-rounded and connected with their world. In addition, it works well for stress relief as it provides a healthy mechanism for temporarily escaping from a stressor, helps people slow their minds down before bed, contributes to better sleep, improves vocabulary and memory, and most importantly, it’s a lot of fun!

Works Cited:

Madison's Library. “Ramblings: The Benefits of Reading Non-Fiction.” Madison’s Library, 12 July 2023,

Seifert, Christine. “The Case for Reading Fiction.” Harvard Business Review, 6 Mar. 2020,

Seiter, Courtney. “The Surprising Power of Reading Fiction: 9 Ways It Make Us Happier and More Creative.” Buffer Resources, 19 Apr. 2018,

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