by Nadia Sotnikova
When I was a toddler, it took more than a few fake airplanes to make me eat my carrots and broccoli. My mouth remained clamped shut, as my mom would pilot the fork airplane filled with toddler-sized bites of multi-colored veggies. My hatred for Bugs Bunny’s favorite vegetable followed me from childhood into adulthood, and my mouth remained shut no matter how many times I was told how beneficial carrots were for my eyes.
My poor mom never stopped trying to create a health conscious carrot-eating daughter, no matter how many times I fed her carrots to the dog or left them on my dinner plate. Creating a health conscious lifestyle require us to consume a large quantity of carrots, broccoli, treadmills, and multivitamins.
But, what might be surprising is that books and reading are also in the same category as broccoli, carrots, treadmills, and multivitamins. Yes, all those late night reading under our bedcovers were just as beneficial to our health as the laps we swim and the zucchini we steam. When we read books, we are taken to different worlds filled with exploration and adventures, but reading isn’t all fun and games; we are also strengthening our brains, expanding our vocabulary, and improving our writing skills.
As we read the many different stories, plots, and characters, our memory is improving. Our books demand us to remember an assortment of facts about the literary world and their inhabitants. We have to remember the various different settings, a multitude of characters, their backgrounds, aspirations, quirks, and numerous sub-plots that weave their way through every story.
When you think about it that is a lot to remember, especially if you are a bookworm, but somehow, our brains are able to remember these things with ease! Every new love triangle, character death, and magical spell cast in a novel forges new brain pathways and strengthens existing ones, assisting us in our short-term memory and stabilizing our mood. So, the happiness we feel as we pick up our dog-eared romance novel isn’t just due to our love for reading, but our own brain’s response to its need for reading.
While books, just like blueberries, are known to improve our memory and our health, books are also beneficial in improving our knowledge and lifestyle. It has been reported that books have the ability to help us expand our vocabulary and improve our writing skills. With each new book, we are on average exposed to over 64,000 words, and with that we learn new words to incorporate into our everyday vocabulary.
With the more books we read, the better our vocabulary, and with that an improvement in our communication and articulation skills. Books not only give us brain pathways, but also pathways to a better lifestyle. For example, an extensive vocabulary can lead to a better career, as those who can read and speak well are often promoted more quickly than those with smaller vocabularies.
Similar to the way books improve our vocabulary, books can also affect our own writing skills. Our exposure to published, well-written work, filled with sentences we could never fathom creating, begins to affect our writing, as we observe the many different sentence structures and patterns, fluidity, and writing styles of the many different authors we love to read.
While I may never improve my lifestyle by eating carrots, I know that the many different books I read on my bus ride to school, under the covers of my bed, and during my down time between classes, are invariably improving my health and lifestyle. While an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so does a book. Reading a book can strengthen our brains and memory, expand our vocabulary, and improve our writing skills, all while entertaining us and providing us with a new world to experience. Carrots can never do that for me!
Guest post contributed by Nadia Sotnikova at the Blooming Twig. The Blooming Twig is an independent, boutique publishing house that supports the adventurous tastes of its readership.