reblog: Slow Reading Makes You Smarter

So what are the odds of reading two posts in short succession, both of which just demand to be reblogged? As I commented on the original post, speaking as a life-long deep reader, I agree with every word.

James Kennedy

books open random pages“Why bother reading?” is a question I’m asked occasionally by students, and “reading makes you smarter” is my standard response. This week, I want to expand on this fact and give some evidence for reading being a major contributor not only to academic success, but to success in many other aspects of life as well.

Reading improves your IQ and EQ

Firstly, there’s convincing evidence by Mar et al., (2009) that people who read fiction have greater ability to understand others’ emotions, emphasise with them and view the world from their perspective. In other words, reading increases your emotional quotient (EQ).

Second, there’s convincing evidence that reading increases your vocabulary. Cunningham & Stanovich (2001) penned an excellent analysis that includes evidence from many other studies that a person’s vocabulary is increased fastest by reading, particularly reading books outside of school hours, than by learning lists of vocabulary on their own.

Improving your EQ has obvious benefits. But what are the advantages of increasing your vocabulary? Increased vocabulary has been…

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About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

8 responses to “reblog: Slow Reading Makes You Smarter

  • Steve Morris

    I’m a *very* slow reader. I hope that makes me a deep reader too.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I think it depends on whether your lips move or not… XD

      (Seriously, though, I think the real key part might be that long-time immersive reading. Spending several hours letting an author take you along for a ride. A part I found interesting was the emphasis on being physically relaxed. Made me think of my ex-wife who did a lot of her reading while exercising.)

  • Lisa Smestad

    reading any of the old classics ups your vocabulary, but also having parents that don’t talk down to you helps. Research is showing that the number of words a child has in their vocabulary when they enter kindergarten is an excellent indicator of shcoold outcome. One of the suggestions being floated is having parnet sign up for a word a day app to share with your child. This would help the child, I wonder what it will do for the parents?

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I’m going to go with: “Demonstrate incompetence in parenting” if they need an app to come up with a word a day! XD

      There is some resistance to the idea that our vocabulary has much effect on our thinking, and to some extent that’s right, but I don’t see how it can’t affect our ability to think about things.

      The strong argument about vocabulary suggested that primitive North Americans might somehow actually not have seen the European sailing ships in their waters because they lacked the concepts for such large vessels. This was — appropriately, I think — met with some derision. Of course they would have seen these giant-ass ships. They just wouldn’t have had any idea what they were.

      But I think the weaker argument holds. If you don’t have the terminology for something, you can’t think about it. It’s that simple. It’s a key reason every field, from cattle ranching to micro robotics, has its own lingo — terminology invented to precisely discuss concepts in the field not usually encountered in normal life.

      A distinction of a large vocabulary is a highly nuanced understanding of meanings of words. This has to lead — to some extent — to a more nuanced understanding of reality.

      Of course it doesn’t account for bat-shit crazy, though. Not much you can do about that.

  • Michelle Railey

    Happy thanksgiving, Wyrd. I’m grateful for you.

  • Biro Jasa Perijinan Usaha

    i spent too much time to read to understand the meaning of books, because too much thing fulfill on my head

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