Why do we read books? To learn more about a particular subject? For entertainment? To pass the time?
There are plenty of reasons we flip through pages and scroll through words for hours. Still, reading does so much more for the brain and body than quenching our thirst for knowledge, entertainment, and passing the time.
You may have heard the phrase “reading makes you smarter.” While it’s not obvious that these two ideas are directly related, there is statistical research to prove how reading can help with intelligence, memory, emotion, and more. Read on to learn about just a few of the ways picking up a new book, newspaper, or magazine can make you smarter.
Vocabulary and Intelligence
One way to expand your vocabulary is by reading new words, understanding their context, and implementing them into your conversations and writing. According to The Economist, adults learn about one word per day until middle age. By reading each day, you could expand your vocabulary at a faster rate. Taking the time to read a new book or text exposes our minds to new words and new forms and uses of familiar words. Learning new words is especially critical for young children to expand their vocabulary beyond what they hear.
Naturally, vocabulary contributes to overall intelligence. With a more extensive thesaurus in your brain, you can communicate, write, read, and perform other tasks at higher levels. Reading stimulates the brain to analyze better, understand, and deduce real-life situations rather than learning the skills when similar situations arise later.
Just as reading helps in the beginning of life to prime the brain, it can also significantly impact memory later in life. Research shows that reading can help slow down cognitive decline and memory loss in older-aged people.
Similar to muscles, the brain benefits from exercise. Reading gives the brain a workout by demanding more to process text rather than images or audio. While watching or listening to something may feel more natural, it is much more beneficial for the brain to work a little harder and read words on a page.
The Art of Turning the Page
At Discover Books, we are #TeamBook and prefer to read a text in print rather than on a screen. There’s scientific research to support how physical reading positively impacts your memory and productivity if you don’t believe us. Millions of books are published across the world. They should not go to waste, which is why we are passionate about reselling, redistributing, and recycling them. According to a study conducted at the University of Stavanger in Norway, reading from a page improves memory retention, making it easier to recall details and chronology.
There are many benefits to digitizing texts and advanced technology we have access to, but if you’re choosing between the print and digital version of a book, think about the benefits for your brain, then go to discoverbooks.com for low prices, free shipping on orders of $12 or more, and coupon codes!
Theory of mind
While it can be an emotional, enjoyable experience getting to know the book’s characters, reading literary fiction does more than evoke feelings.
Fiction helps readers develop theory of mind processing. This cognitive skill allows individuals to understand the mental state of themselves and others. By reading descriptions of others’ thoughts and feelings in a book, the reader develops the skill to attribute mental states to others and form complex social relationships that make up our society.
Theory of mind is especially crucial to development at a young age, so children become less egocentric and begin to understand others’ thoughts and feelings. In short, reading fosters empathy and compassion.
Reading can be described as an “escape,” which makes sense as it is statistically proven to reduce stress levels. More effective than walking or drinking a hot beverage, reading slows down the heart rate and relaxes your muscles, reducing stress levels. The act of reading allows the body to focus on one task and improve concentration.
It’s no coincidence that we look to our world leaders, scholars, role models, and professionals for their favorite books or reading lists. While an enjoyable hobby, reading does more than give you something to do on the beach or during downtime. Next time you pick up a book, remember that your brain is thanking you for improving memory function, reducing stress, and teaching it some new skills!