We all know that reading improves the mind, which is why we have had it drilled into us from a young age that we should read as much as possible. But what we are not often told is how or why reading is supposed to be so good for us, so here are 8 ways reading improves the mind.
1. Wider Vocabulary
We learn new words by coming across them and seeing them in use, so there’s no real better way to expand your vocabulary. Reading improves the mind because not only will you come across new words, but you will also learn how to spell and use them correctly. With a larger arsenal of words at your disposal, you can express yourself more eloquently and in different ways.
2. A Different Perspective
Reading an historical novel will give an historical perspective on certain events, for example, but you can also gain new perspectives in terms of gender, class, religion, and so many other things. This will improve your general knowledge and understanding of the world, as well as your ability to empathize with others.
3. Increased Reading Speed
Like anything, reading is about practise. And the more you read, the faster you will be able to read too. This doesn’t just have to be applied to reading in your own time either; it can also increase the speed at which you work and achieve everyday tasks. This is because reading improves your mind by increasing the speed at which your brain processes what your eyes see.
4. New Ideas
Oddly, new ideas often come from discovering those already existing. Reading new things can spark all sorts of new ideas in your head, which you can use for your own writing, or just as some interesting conversation topics.
5. Improved Writing Ability
Reading well-written books will increase your own writing ability, as you have the opportunity to witness good writing in action. You will take on board loads of ways to improve your own writing without even realizing it, your grammar improving bucket-loads without you having to put any work in.
6. Improved Speaking Ability
As your writing ability improves, so will your speaking ability. If you understand correct grammar and good choices of vocabulary written down, you will be able to verbalize your ideas so much better too.
7. A Distinct Voice
All good writers have a distinct voice, to the point where you should be able to read a new piece by them and work out who it is without being told. It’s only by exposure to these distinct voices of others that you will be able to fully develop your own. Reading improves your mind because it’s not the content of what you read that matters (you can choose whatever you like!), but the style and persuasive voice, which you can learn from.
We know that reading improves your mind, but it also improves how others perceive you. If you speak well, you will come across as intelligent and articulate; you’ll be more likely to make friends with intelligent people, have a good career, and so on. Having the ability to reference and understand references to great works of literature, historical events and philosophical, theological and ethical ideas will also make you look incredibly intelligent. Being able to quote important figures will also massively increase your ability to win an argument.
All in all, there can be no doubt that reading improves the mind, but just make sure that you find things that you can enjoy, or it will be a chore, you won’t read much, and you won’t ultimately get very far. Are you an avid reader or one of those who hasn’t picked up a book since school/college?