How Reading for Pleasure Makes You Smarter —
A Guest Post by Brooke Chaplan
If you enjoy reading for fun, you can rest easy knowing you’re doing more than just relaxing. Even casual reading for pleasure can improve brain function and potentially enhance a person’s intellect. Here are several ways in which frequent reading can make you more intelligent in various ways.
Enjoying the written works by other people, especially those from a diverse range of backgrounds, will expose you to a rich vocabulary that you may not have experienced previously. Even if you do not take the time to look up new words, readers are able to determine their meaning by reading them in context. In this way, reading not only improves vocabulary, but also their ability to extrapolate meaning from incomplete data and form miniature hypotheses.
When you enjoy your reading material, you tend to pay close attention and consciously as well as unconsciously pick up new ideas. Expanded perspectives can change the way you think by helping you to see and understand different issues and topics. Reading thus broadens your mind with expanded concepts.
As you try to figure out a mystery novel or understand the character development of a popular biography, your analytical skills will improve as a result. Reading widely can help improve your analytical skills in many academic disciplines, including math, because it helps students learn to process information quickly and be better prepared for scanning problems. While reading will not be a replacement for traditional math tutoring, you can rest easy knowing that it will improve a child’s ability to keep up with their studies.
The more familiar you become with writing conventions and formats, the stronger your own organization skills become. In reading through an interesting book, whether fiction or nonfiction, you subconsciously note its structure and how ideas are revealed through each chapter. This organizational process can be conveyed to readers in ways that will impact how they organize other information sources. Noting how books are organized helps readers to balance ideas within a specific framework.
Reading material that you find intriguing may unleash your creative capabilities. Many famous people have claimed to find inspiration from their favorite books. Cark Sagan, the famous astrophysicist, astronomer, and science communicator, said “To read is to voyage through time.” Beyond time, books take us to other worlds and into the lives of other people, which expands thought and empathy. And there are other mental benefits: studies have linked reading with lowered depression and anxiety.
Books are one of the best strategies for self-improvement, especially in areas of thought and analysis. If you aren’t already reading for pleasure, give it a try. Not only will it help spark your creative juices and inspire your mind, it will also help you organize thoughts and map out problems easier.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan