“A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has been already discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the yet unsolved ones.” – Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
There is little argument that technology has been experiencing a tremendous boom, especially within the last ten years. If you live in a developed (or developing) country, you can often look almost anywhere and find at least one person playing with their mobile toys.
Along with the proliferation of mobile devices comes the debate on whether or not the expanding use of them is advancing collective intellect or dumbing it down. Other areas of research focus on whether our ability to focus and sustain attention is dwindling because of our beloved devices. The research (and debate) continues on.
Technology aside, one activity that is certainly adding to our intelligence and boosting brainpower is reading. Numerous scientific studies have confirmed (over and over again) that the ability to read is absolutely essential to cognitive development, especially at a young age. A particularly interesting study was conducted, showing the direct correlation between reading at a young age and healthy cortical development.
What are the other benefits of reading? Well, let us list the numerous benefits below for you.
Here are ten great reasons you should read every day:
1. Enhanced Intelligence and Knowledge
No real surprise here – when you read, it improves intellect and builds upon your knowledge base. Understandably, many of us underestimate the power (and fun!) of reading when we are young. As we get older, however, we come to realize that books are interesting, with many of them having the magical ability to “transport” us to different places – fantasy or fiction.
It is easy to take for granted the fact that countless amount of information is available and accessible at our whim. If we’re interested in a topic or with to engage intellectually with a topic that interests us, we can usually find something that’s been written about it – and read about it.
2. Increased Vocabulary
It is said that vocabulary is the best indicator of intelligence – if this is the case, #1 certainly makes sense! Anyways, when you listen to someone and are unsure of a word that they’ve used, it can be frustrating to continue the conversation. Further, it can be somewhat embarrassing to ask what a particular word means in the middle of a conversation. Deciding to read instead of watching TV is a fantastic way to expand your vocab which, in turn, enhance communication ability. Speaking of communication ability…
With a more expansive vocabulary, one becomes more articulate as well. Most of us are cognizant of the way that we speak to others. We want to sound reasonably bright and knowledgeable when we communicate to those around us. Further, the ability to articulate and use language well is an extremely powerful and influential tool to those around us. When you read more and more, your brain has the magnificent ability to (often subconsciously) remember words and expressions that can enhance the ability to express yourself.
4. More Concentration
Perhaps more than anything else out there, reading books sharpens your concentration ability. To be able to follow a storyline, one page at a time, requires mental staying power. Make no mistake about it, concentration is a direct byproduct of willpower; when you increase your innate ability to concentrate, you increase willpower. In this way, reading books on a regular basis can improve many different areas of your life – work, school and even social engagements.
5. Heightened creativity and imagination
As reading increases mental flexibility, heightened creativity and imagination is often a direct result. Many types of writing – poems, novels, short stories, etc. – require us to picture people, places and things in our mind’s eye. As such, our brain’s wonderful ability to create and imagine are enhanced. When we are more imaginative and creative, we often produce work and other things that are more innovative and interesting.
6. Sharper Critical thinking
Reading is an excellent way to increase our ability to analyze and assess information. Books often contain very specific information that, if missed, can result in missing a key point of information. The ability to analyze information and make educated assessments based upon that information is a very important function of our daily life. We can thank reading for improving these critical skills.
7. Mental Health
Most of us are quite conscious about our physical health. We (at least somewhat) watch what we put into our body and make the attempt to get some sort of physical activity. Well, just as the body requires physical exertion to stay fit, the mind does as well. Some research has also shown that regular readers not only improve their cognitive ability, but also may be better protected against ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Yes, reading can bring some much needed stimulation to your brain, but it can also help you wind down. This is especially true of tranquil and spiritual texts such as the Bible, Quran, and other scripture. Self-help books and other inspirational materials can help bring about a sense of peace.
9. Expands your Worldview
Without sounding too harsh, so many people have such limited perspective on the world around us. These people are so wrapped up in their own little world that they forget there is a nearly limitless one out there to be discovered. Reading is powerful in the sense that it can engage us with other peoples, cultures, ideologies, religious and spiritual beliefs, politics, etc. without ever booking a flight. In our opinion, it is important to be engaged with the world around you, and reading provides that opportunity.
10. Personal enrichment and accomplishment
Education does not end with a degree or diploma… it is a lifelong journey that is immeasurably valuable; perhaps more so than anything else that’s existed. In many ways, a free book is more educational than a six-figure degree. How would we ever intimately know the world around us or ourselves without the innate curiosity to learn? Reading is a terrific way to satiate this curiosity and experience tremendous personal growth in the process.
Reading is important. Get kids started early with this reading program for kids (learn more here)