It's quite fitting that I'm writing this on the FlixBus home, because I've got two and a half rather cramped hours to think of some answers.
Starting off, I think it's certainly necessary. Being at university is a stressful place to be. If you're feeling burnt out, there's nothing wrong with taking a few days, or weeks, for a break. And, halfway through a semester seems the perfect time to do just that.
Most of us aren't from Newcastle, and the new life we took on months (or years) ago takes some adjusting to. Life in a different city feels, at least for me, as if it goes 100mph sometimes. So, taking time to press pause and relax is very important and essential.
I've gone home for every reading week, the way that I like to spend it. I've always been lucky enough to slip in and out of different routines, so it works for me. As an only child, I feel obliged to show my face at home every now and then, so that's the main reason I make the trip back to Yorkshire. To enjoy my home comforts and to see my home friends.
Saying all this, you don't have to go home. You may live miles away, you might not be able to go home, and you might not even want to. So, staying in Newcastle may work best for you. Another reason to stay is for part-time work (or to go, depending on if you work at home or away at uni). I'll be going back to work since university is expensive and a bit of extra money is never a bad thing. Probably not the most fun way to spend a reading week, but probably the most worthwhile if your bank account looks like mine.
Nearly halfway home on my Flixbus, I've not even mentioned the idea of actually doing uni work yet. If you've got an essay due or are simply feeling a little behind don't worry! You've now got a week to do it uninterrupted, use it to your advantage. They call it 'enrichment week' for a reason.
So, the bottom line is there's no correct answer for what you should do in your reading week, there's so many equally worthwhile options. I asked some friends to see what they're going to do, and I got a load of very different answers.
One's going home to see her boyfriend, a few are going home to work and a few are staying in Newcastle. They're all doing what they think is best for them, so you should do that too! University is all about growing and finding what is best for you and that doesn't have to change with reading week!