Some kids only read when they’re forced to, but those who pick up a book just for fun are more likely to become happier and smarter teenagers, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. studied more than 10-thousand teenagers and found that reading for 12 hours a week is ideal for young people to develop bigger and better brains.
Specifically, the team found strong links between recreational reading between the ages of two and nine and better performance in memory, speech, verbal learning and general academic tests. Kids who started reading for pleasure at a young age were also found to have a “moderately larger” overall brain area and volume. Young readers also showed better mental health, with fewer signs of stress and depression, as well as better attention spans and fewer behavioral problems, and they also slept longer and spent less time on screens.
“Reading isn’t just a pleasurable experience – it’s widely accepted that it inspires thinking and creativity, increases empathy and reduces stress,” explains Professor Barbara Sahakian from the Department of Psychiatry. “But on top of this, we found significant evidence that it’s linked to important developmental factors in children, improving their cognition, mental health, and brain structure, which are cornerstones for future learning and well-being.”
Source: Study Finds