The Future of Reading | #MyFridayStory No. 24

The Future of Reading | #MyFridayStory No. 24

The best way to fast track progress, is through reading.

Reading is a right that should be fiercely encouraged, especially with our children. It is accepted as a means of getting information into our brains. Research[1] done in 2014, showed that verbal intelligence is improved in children exposed to reading compared to those that aren’t. The study went on to prove that children who read more not only improved their literacy, but also their cognitive skills. Reading and comprehending text, has been shown to lead to improved health, education, socioeconomic status, and creativity.

What is concerning, is how low the standards of reading are in South Africa. I was shocked by a recent article in the Huffington Post[2], that 8 out of 10 South African children in Grade 4 cannot read for meaning. South Africa came last out of 50 other countries. As an example, in Chile 13% of grade 4 students can’t read compared to our 78%! Even more devastating, the number of children that achieved the High International Benchmark in 2011 was 3%, in 2016, it was only 2 percent. We are getting worse.

Here’s some thoughts on the benefits of reading.

According to science[3], reading helps you to be more open-minded. In fact, reading fiction books is directly associated to heightened creativity. Research at Yale also showed that in a study of 3635 people older than 50, those who read for 30 minutes every day, lived on average 23 months longer than non-readers.

Reading 30 minutes a day, adds 23 months to your life!

In our daily lives, we are always reading. Whether it’s a Facebook post, or a newspaper article or your latest book, trying to remember everything is almost impossible. Jessica Stillman from Inc.[4] suggests using ‘Impression’. Being ‘impressed’ with the passage, through picturing it in your mind, will make it more memorable. Another method is to use  ‘Repetition’.  Highlighting or repeating a passage you have just read, is scientifically proven to increase the quantity and quality of what you read.

Another study[5] confirms that writing down the main points of what you have read, taking time to consider the content and its implications of it, and how this impacts on your own personality and preferences, actually reinforces the memory for easy retreival.

James Clear[6] suggests finishing a book is easy. Understanding it is harder. He believes recalling what you have read can further be enhanced by considering the intersection of concepts and ideas. Topics are rarely separated neatly like they are in a library – History, Science, Geography, Biography – but are rather intertwined and connected at different points. Making this connection between different books and topics, helps the new idea ‘stick’ in our memory.

According to research from around the world, the amount we read has been declining for the last 30 years. That can’t be a good thing. The benefits of reading are unquestionable. I’m obviously a big fan.

If we could get our children, ‘To learn to love to learn’, reading should have a bright future.


  1. Does Learning to Read Improve Intelligence? A Longitudinal Multivariate Analysis in Identical Twins from Age 7 to 16, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4354297/
  2. Study Shows SA Kids ‘Can’t Read For Meaning’, HuffPost, https://www.huffingtonpost.co.za/2017/12/05/south-african-learners-worst-at-reading-in-world-shows-international-study_a_23297219/
  3. Why Reading Books Should be Your Priority, According to Science, By Christina Desmarais, https://getpocket.com/a/read/2114664050
  4. How to Remember More of What You Read, By Jessica Stillman, https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/how-to-remember-more-of-what-you-read.html?cid=search
  5. Science Says This Is the Simplest Way to Remember More of What You Read, By Wanda Thibodeaux, https://getpocket.com/a/read/2064406086
  6. How to Retain More of Every Book You Read, By James Clear https://getpocket.com/a/read/2112427153

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