Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Does Avid-reading Behavior Change a Child's Brain?

Scientific America has a really interesting article here on how a troubled family actually actually changes a child's brain.

As a high school English teacher for 35 years, I saw everyday how avid readers were fundamentally different from the kids that read only what they had to, if that.  Avid readers read better, wrote better, concentrated better, and did better across the board in all of their classes.

Do you think avid-reading behavior also causes brain changes.  That would be my guess.

It was only when I started letting my high school students choose most of their reading, that their love of reading, and their reading scores, soared.   It was amazing to me to see how kids could fairly easily be brought to a love of reading simply by allowing them to choose most of the books they read.


  1. Hi, I would have to say that reading literally saved my life. From an early age, my great grandmother instilled the value of reading, read to both my brother and I, and I continued to read up and to the point where I ended up back with my mother and stepfather. That is where the troubling life began. Reading was my escape and is what helped keep me sane because it allowed me to live my life outside of myself, my troubled and violent home life, etc.

    My love of reading took me outside of all of that and helped shape me, opened me up to discoveries outside of my life that I would have otherwise not known, people,places, and things that I would have not seen nor heard of. It brought me stability.. i know that is a far fetched reach, but really, I attribute some of my "saneness and stability" to reading and my great grandmother whom I lost at the age of 13. My brother on the other hand, took the more destructive path and now is reaping the fallout of his life decisions. He dealt with the terrible home life in a different manner and it shows. He still has animosity, hatred, and has self destructed because of it. Although he fails to see it, to me, its clearly written on the wall.

    I have since went on and received my BS in Business Admin, my MS in Marketing/Communication, and now in pursuit of a PhD. in, yes, there is hope if caught at an early age. I could go on, but I will stop here.

  2. Wow. Good for you. I read somewhere that there was a study attempting to see what made some children able to thrive despite a troubled upbringing when most don't. The study identified three characteristics of these "survivor" children: a nurturing relationship with at least one adult (could be a teacher, a coach, a great-grandmother), high intelligence, and a love of reading.

    It would be so interesting to see what effect a love of reading has on psychological functioning. Maybe you'll pursue that. Anyway, good luck to you, and thanks for posting.