Reading Has Huge Lifelong Benefits: December 9, 2018

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To build muscle or endurance, you lift weights, run, bike. You exercise. There’s a way to bulk up your brain strength, too: Books. Reading is like doing burpees for your brain. Especially if you start young.

Carnegie Mellon study found when kids get intensive reading instruction early on, brains physically rewire themselves. Brain scans of 8-to-10-year-olds showed an increase in the quality of their white matter, the brain tissue which carries signals through the nervous system so information can be processed.

This could be because focused reading causes a significant spike in blood flow to parts of the brain used for complex tasks.

Reading is great for your brain throughout your whole life. 

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These literary jokes are so bad that they’re good. 

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Maybe some people find it odd for Pippi Longstocking, with her red pigtails and freckled skin, to be a role model for a black girl on the South Side of Chicago. But when I was young, there were so few prominent characters who looked like me. There was no Doc McStuffins on TV, no “Black Panther” on the big screen. So once I had kids of my own, I liked to find stories with characters who looked like my girls — but at the same time the stories didn’t have to be centered on race. One of our favorites was “The Snowy Day,” by Ezra Jack Keats. It’s a simple story about the adventures of a boy on a snowy day. He makes snow angels, slides down a snow pile and gets smacked by a snowball. It’s a boy who happened to be black and who happened to live in the city. He’s a kid just being a kid, and that’s enough.

Michelle Obama’s “By The Book” is great.

Do you like podcasts like This American Life, RadioLab, or Planet Money? Annotated is kinda like those, but for books. Go here to find out more, or click the image below:
Kelly Jensen: Kelly is a former teen and adult librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Twitter @veronikellymars.