Swopping your magazine for more complex, thought provoking material makes you a better writer.
We all understand that reading is important. Reading develops the imagination, stimulates the brain, improves memory and helps us engage with real-life knowledge, but few people consider what we read might have an impact on what we gain from it.
Reading helps you write
It is well established that reading improves our vocabulary, yet a May 2016 journal in the International Journal of Business Administration discovers what students read directly effects their level of writing. What they read and how often they did it, according to the article, affected writing ability more than the actual writing. The highest scores were achieved by students who engaged in deep reading. This includes academic journals, literary fiction or non-fiction. Those engaged in light reading (web-based content, mysteries and fiction) had much lower scores.
Deep reading vs light reading
Light reading is simply decoding the words. When we skim through web articles, headline news or magazine articles we are not engaging mentally with the content- allowing it to slip through our brain.
Deep reading is slow. It immerses the brain in rich, sensory detail and moral complexity. Through metaphors, detail and allusion it allows for strong empathy- making the brain act as if it was experiencing the event described in the book itself. Rather than merely skimming through the information and forgetting it, the brain is forced to reflect on it and ask questions.
The science of deep reading
Deep reading synchronises the brain by activating the speech, vision and hearing centres of the brain- the Broca’s area, Wernicke’s area and the angular gyrus. All these areas fuse together when reading and are repeated when writing. Reading complex words and sentences will fuse these areas in a way which leads us to write with more depth.
There are two things we can read where we practice fusing our brain- making us better writers:
Poetry, like music, can arouse emotions more easily than prose, according to an article in the Journal of Consciousness Studies. The study confirmed there is a “reading network” of brain areas which respond to any material read. Poetry was discovered to stimulate the posterior cingulate cortex and medial temporal lobes. Both these parts of the brain are linked to introspection. Emotionally charged material like poetry activates the same areas, mainly on the right side of the brain that responds to music. Poetry activates memory. When volunteers for the study read their favourite poems it evoked strong emotions- a useful tool for creative writing.
Recent experiments show that reading literary fiction helps us to understand others’ emotions and thinking and state of being. It triggers cognition which goes beyond the brain functions needed to read magazine and news articles.
Add deep reading to your writing toolbox
Although it stimulates more brain cells than television- reading light novels and magazines do not give you the complex neural patterns and vocabulary needed to think and write more effectively. As the students in the study discovered, you can improve your grade just by swopping your magazine for a literary classic.
Our team at Stimulus Maksima! offers tools and solutions that help our clients, from toddlers to adults, to improve their English and Afrikaans reading and numeracy skills. We address reading and mathematics preparation, the learn-to-read phase, as well as reading and mathematical improvement. All our products are supported by a comprehensive assessment and reporting system.
Find out more about how we do it by visiting our website at http://www.stimulusmaksima.co.za/