One always hears that if you want to succeed, you have to read a lot and research proves this. Reading increases your general knowledge and language skills, while the act of reading particularly improves your emotional intelligence and empathy.
Reading is important, seeing as it helps with cognitive development. The advantages literate people enjoy to those who cannot read are huge, including higher intelligence, a longer lifespan and better memory.
It is also necessary for parents and teachers to instil the habit of learning and reading in the younger generation. The process of learning to read is complex and builds on cognitive, language and social skills developed from a young age.
Somebody who reads every day gets better at it over time. It is therefore not strange that daily readers also enjoy it more than those who read less often. It can even improve memory and critical thinking skills.
Below are five ways of how reading and learning help with brain development:
The sooner you develop reading skills, the faster you improve in other areas. This leads to more confidence in the way one speaks and writes. When you start reading and learning about different people, distant places and historical events at an early age, you become more creative.
Improving concentration and focus
The emphasis on reading and literacy helps to develop higher levels of focus and concentration. It also forces the reader to sort things out in their own minds – including topics they may not be familiar with at all.
In our internet-crazy world our focus is simultaneously being directed in a million different directions.
In a single period of five minutes, the average person will divide their attention between working on a task, checking an email, chatting with a few people, keeping an eye on Twitter and monitoring their smartphone. This type of ADHD-like behaviour causes our stress levels to rise and lower productivity.
When you read a book, all your attention is focused on the story in question – the rest of the world just fades away – and you can immerse yourself in every little detail you take in.
Critical and analytical thinking skills
How many times have you tried to solve the mystery of a good detective story in your head before the end of the book? This is a simple example of how reading helps one to develop better critical and analytical skills, something that continues even after putting the book down.
When reading a book, you have to remember a variety of characters, their backgrounds, ambitions and history, as well as the different underlying stories that flow through each story. It’s a great deal to remember, but the brain is a wonderful organ and can remember it relatively easily.
Every new thought you create forms new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthens the existing ones, which help with the recall of short-term memory.
Expanding your vocabulary
The more you read, the better your vocabulary becomes. The more your vocabulary improves, the better you can express your own thoughts and feelings.
How often do we all not search for just the right word to express what we are trying to say? Readers do so less. They have a larger vocabulary, and the words readers learn in a book will eventually feature in their vocabulary.