Novels started in 11th century Japan, with the very first recorded novel being ”The Tale of Genji”, by Japanese novelist Murasaki Shibiku. This tale of Japanese court intrigue is considered the first novel ever written. It’s been over a thousand years since this book was first published, yet even now people are still captivated by novels and the act of reading them. Novels offer a unique kind of magic, which cannot be replicated by either films or television.
Films and television are both visual mediums, with the visual on-screen usually being the vision of a single, or in some cases more, director. They are what they are, and they cannot be changed. If you don’t enjoy how they look, you’re out of luck. The best you can do is wait for someone else to take a crack at it, and maybe they interpret it visually in a way you like.
Books, on the other hand, are a written medium. You don’t watch them, you read them. What this allows the reader to do is interpret the story themselves. Make a visual in your own mind, let your imagination run wild. What’s written in a book can be visualized in your mind however you like, as long as you have a strong enough imagination. And that’s what draws so many people to books in the first place. Books are a unique form of media, in that they allow the consumer to be as creative as the creator while consuming them.
So far we’ve only discussed the allure of books, now let’s talk about some reasons why reading is actually very beneficial for your children. With reading now being as old as it is, there is a very large pool of research pointing to how it can help young readers. Reading novels, or books of any kind, helps keep both your mind and body in great shape, keep reading to find out how:
It Strengthens Your Brain
Research indicating that reading literally changes your brain has grown substantially in recent times. Through the use of MRI scans, researchers have been able to observe the intricate network of circuits and signals in our brain that are used while we read. As we continue to read and our reading ability gets stronger, so does that network. It strengthens and becomes more sophisticated.
This research using MRI scans has shown that while reading, and for a few days after, brain connectivity actually increases, especially so in the somatosensory cortex, the part of the brain that handles physical sensations, like movement and pain.
A very practical benefit to reading, it has been demonstrated by researchers time and again that reading helps cultivate a larger vocabulary. For young children, especially, reading can really help to broaden their vocabularies, as they are sure to come across words they’ve never used before. This allows them to get better at expressing themselves, both in writing and while speaking.
Having a large vocabulary is beneficial at all stages of life. Young children and teenagers with larger vocabularies tend to do better at standardized tests and exams, and young adults can reap the benefits during job interviews, flexing their large vocabularies to impress potential employers. Increasingly these days, companies are looking to hire people with effective communication skills, and improving your vocabulary is very helpful in that regard.
Slows Cognitive Decline
While studies haven’t conclusively shown that reading can prevent cognitive decline yet, researchers have confirmed that seniors who read and solve math problems on a daily basis are able to maintain their cognitive functions for longer. It has also been proven that people who engage in mentally stimulating activities like reading from an early age are less likely to suffer dementia later on in life.
Helps Fight Depression
A problem very common in young people these days is depression. Depression often manifests as feelings of loneliness and isolation. Reading fiction can help alleviate these symptoms, by allowing one to escape their own world, and get swept along in the adventures of fictional characters. Some non-fictional books like biographies and self-help books can also serve as inspiration, with the latter also offering strategies that might help manage the symptoms of depression.
Helps You Live Longer
Studies have found in the past that adults who read more tend to live longer than those that don’t. One study, which lasted over a period of 12 years, found that those that spent at least 3 and a half hours a week were 17 percent less likely to die than those who didn’t. Those who spent even longer reading were over 23 percent less likely to die. A similar relationship was found for those that read newspapers and periodicals, but it was weaker.
Helps You Sleep
IF you’re having trouble sleeping, reading can help solve that problem. Doctors recommend reading before bed as a part of a healthy sleeping routine. It is also better to read a physical book rather than reading online, as the light emitted from your screen can prevent you from getting rest. Reading helps you relax, putting you in the perfect headspace to go to sleep.