Reading and Your Brain!


It is well documented that reading is essential for our children to be successful in school and in their future careers. In fact, how well and how often a child reads for pleasure has more effect on their future success in school than any other factor – including their social and economic backgrounds.

We spend countless hours and a great deal of money preparing our physical being with make-up, hair, clothes, bathing and doing exercise from a young age. And yet, we find it difficult to put aside a few moments a day to read. The benefits of reading non-fiction are obvious in learning skills and educating ourselves in fields such as history, science, language and on and on. But psychologists now believe that reading fiction can also have enormous benefits to both young and old in helping them understand the human character. Reading fiction increases our ability to build social ties and our empathy toward others. It can actually develop our social brains and make us more adept at camaraderie, collaboration and even love!

There is an emotional response that occurs to most readers when they have read a book that successfully describes their exact predicament. A perfect example of this is how many young people relate to Holden Caulfield to only change their impressions a few years later.

Bibliotherapy (Bibliotherapy) is used in addition to other therapies to treat anxiety and depression. There is a limitless number of books out there that can give your life perspective. Readers experience an emotional response when they read a book that successfully describes their exact predicament.

Research in 2006 showed that preschoolers exposed to stories were more able to understand the perspectives of others. MRI scans have shown that we have an increased emotional response when reading a fictional character’s dilemma. (Article)

A recent column by Lee Dye reported by ABC News stated that using some of the most sophisticated tools, scientists can now peer into the human brain and see the changes occurring when we read.

Here are some of the interesting findings-

— Reading is a very complex task that requires several different regions of the brain to work together.

— But surprisingly, we don’t use the same neural circuits to read as we grow from infants to adults. So our brains are constantly changing throughout our lives.

— It appears possible that reading can improve the “connectivity” between the various brain circuits that are essential to understanding the written word.

— And there is recent evidence that simply reading a good novel can keep that enhanced           “connectivity” working for days, and possibly longer, after we have finished the book                 ABC News


Although it cannot be said at this time that reading often can affect the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, it has been noted that those who keep their brains active and stimulated with reading and games, have a lower level of the brain proteins that are found in the brain of Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Here is the point-

It is not a waste of time to sit down and read a good book. In fact, there is growing proof that the benefit of reading all types of books at all ages is essential for a successful and happy future. So, don’t feel the least bit guilty about grabbing that book you have been meaning to start- your life may depend on it!

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