My mother always told me that all that reading would make me smarter. Now, thanks to this article on MSN about just that thing, she has some extra weight for her argument. Apparently, someone at UC Berkley actually did a study and wrote it all up in a paper called What Reading Does for the Mind. Based on that study, we get three benefits from reading, especially when we start young. First, reading increases vocabulary more than talking or direct teaching. That was my mother’s main argument for reading, incidentally. Second, reading substantially boosts general knowledge while decreasing the likelihood that misinformation will be absorbed. This one is the one that most people seem to think is true. I’m not quite as convinced, but, hey, the study says it’s true, so I’ll go with it. And, finally, reading helps keep our memory and reasoning abilities intact as we age. Again, not sure about this one, yet, but it did seem to keep my grandmother sharp. She lived to be like 96 or something ridiculous like that and was pretty sharp all the way until the end. Well, except for often asking the same question several times in an hour, but I always suspected that was more her testing us than her not remembering. Always checking to see if my story changed and all that. And, she only had one or two episodes in the hospital when she had any age/time displacement, so I figure that’s pretty good. I mean, after all, she was born before electricity was common in the home and when the “horseless carriage” was still a bit of a novelty, so, all things considered, she did pretty well.
So, even if I don’t read quite as much as I used to and a lot of ficition as well, I figure it’s still good for me. At least, in the long run.
So, kids, a little advice from your Uncle Jim? Read, even if it’s just comic books. Reading actually is good for you!