If reading if the only thing that you do, without trying to relate the read material with your existing frame of reference, does it help in any way?

Reading, simply to pass time, without performing associated analysis and opinion making / modification is not worth the effort.

There are some books / articles that we read only for the fun of reading. For example, I am once again reading the Foundation series written by Issac Asimov. I am reading it for the fun of it. Though it is a science fiction story based in inter-galactic space and has little chance of coming to fruition in my life-time, it does relate to many things that we see around us and thus has some relevance. Obviously, Asimov must have written the story with some reference to incidents from his past or from things he read about or experienced.