Reading is a mental exercise that helps develops the brain. Studies have shown that children who read for pleasure do better in all areas of academia. Neuroscientists have conducted many studies to explore exactly how reading strengthens and develops the brain.
How does reading develop the brain?
MRI studies on the brain show that readers have a greater capacity for empathy. By reading stories, you place yourself in the shoes of and sometimes in the minds of different characters. This exposes you to new ways of thinking and new concepts. This is particularly important for children as it allows them to build a framework to cope with situations they have not experienced in real life. It also gives them the ability to understand the needs and thoughts of other children, and this allows them to make more friends.
Other studies suggest that readers are better at communicating. By reading, they are exposed to more words, and this expands their vocabulary and in turn gives the reader a greater pool of concepts and ideas to draw upon when expressing their own ideas. Studies have found that readers make better listeners when they can understand topics and break down word sounds easier.
Reading also enhances a child’s ability to think critically. By reading, they are analyzing and absorbing new information. This allows them to spot patterns and trends better and as such it boosts all areas of academic achievement, even mathematics. Studies have shown that the more a child reads the higher they score on all forms of intelligence tests.
Reading also strengthens the visualization centers of the brain. This means that a reader can process visual information better and learns at a greater rate through observation alone. It has also been demonstrated through testing that visualizing helps develop neurons in the brain. Just reading about activity stimulates the same areas of the brain as actually performing that activity.
Best Books to Read for a Mental Workout
The best books to read to develop the brain are works of fiction that challenge the reader and provide richly imagined settings, and those that prompt the reader to ponder the plight and predicament of their hero.