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THE BENEFIT OF INDEPENDENT READING:
Reading gives muscle to your memory.
Reading gives your brain a different kind of workout than watching TV or listening to the radio. Whether you’re absorbed in a page-turner or simply scanning an instruction manual for something, “parts of the brain that have evolved for other functions—such as vision, language, and associative learning—connect in a specific neural circuit for reading, which is very challenging," Ken Pugh, PhD, president and director of research of Haskins Laboratories, told Oprah magazine. The habit spurs your brain to think and concentrate.
Reading can melt away stress.Snuggling up with a good read tamps down levels of unhealthy stress hormones such as cortisol, Weight Watchers recently reported. In a British study, participants engaged in an anxiety-provoking activity and then either read for a few minutes, listened to music, or played video games. The stress levels of those who read dropped 67 percent, which was a more significant dip than that of the other groups.
Reading boosts your vocabulary.
Researchers estimate that we learn five to 15 percent of all the words we know through reading, according to a Scholastic report. This is particularly important for children, whose vocabulary size is directly and dramatically related to the books they read
Reading improves empathy.
Stories provide life-changing perspective, say York University researchers. Getting wrapped up in the lives of characters strengthens your ability to understand others’ feelings.
Reading can encourage life goals.
Reading about someone who overcame obstacles may motivate you to meet your own goals, Ohio State University researchers found. The more you identify with a character and experience the events as if they were happening to you, the more likely you’ll be to take action.