Books. A wealth of knowledge enclosed in pages that spark your imagination, improve your critical thinking and – make you smarter. Reading is remarkable because it benefits areas of your life that you probably wouldn’t even expect. Better yet, the benefits of reading are long-lasting as it successfully rewires and improves the way your brain analyses information. (If that’s not an express ticket to exam success I don’t know what is!)
Here are just three of the many ways reading makes you smarter
Improves Memory and Focus
The daily habit of simply sitting down and reading is said to sharpen the brain because of the concentration it involves. Your brain is stimulated by the words on the page and many books rely on the reader’s ability to focus and retain information about the storyline so they can follow along. By reading daily you are developing and improving your memory, which will be amazing for exams because they test you on what you remember from what you have been taught.
Strengthens Your Writing Ability
Many experienced teachers and tutors can attest to the fact that the highest performing pupils often read – A LOT. The beneficial impact reading has on writing skills, is one of many people barely even realise. Reading exposes your brain to a treasure chest of vocabulary. Especially, when you read amazing, well-written books. At KLC we study extracts from ‘the classics’ like ‘Of Mice and Men’ and ‘Lord of the Flies’ because it is important to read books from successful and incredibly skillful writers with our pupils. This practice exposes them to the magical world of language techniques, narrative structure, character development and also improves their vocabulary. All this combined boost the quality of their writing, and the foundation is reading!
Improved Critical Thinking
The mental journey books take us on, directly improves our ability to think critically. Through character development, for instance, readers are able to notice patterns in character behavior and predict outcomes based purely on the information the writer has given them. Reading assists the function of our brains which works with piecing information together. Mystery novels are particularly beneficial for improving analytical thinking. This is because of the frequent twists and turns in the storyline that encourage pupils to focus on patterns and phish for clues based on the details they find in the text. (‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins is a sensation mystery novel to get started with!) This ability to spot patterns and connect the dots will greatly assist pupils with thinking outside of box and considering multiple outcomes and interpretations they can gain from texts. This skill is amazing for all the analytical writing they are required to do in a range of their subjects.
It must be noted that reading may not seem like the most amusing activity in the world. But there is no escaping the bare fact that reading makes you smarter. – Focus on what’s in it for you!
By Taiwo Bali, KLC English Tutor