13 December 2010

Why read?

It stimulates your brain in ways that watching television does not.
"* Neuroimaging studies using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) have revealed regions of cerebral white matter with decreased microstructural organization (lowerfractional anisotropy or FA) among poor readers. We examined whether 100 hr of intensive remedial instruction affected the white matter of 8- to 10-year-old poor readers. Prior to instruction, poor readers had significantly lower FA than good readers in a region of the left anterior centrum semiovale. The instruction resulted in a change in white matter (significantly increased FA), and in the very same region. The FA increase was correlated with a decrease in radial diffusivity (but not with a change in axial diffusivity), suggesting that myelination had increased. Furthermore, the FA increase was correlated with improvement in phonological decoding ability, clarifying the cognitive locus of the effect. The results demonstrate the capability of a behavioral intervention to bring about a positive change in cortico-cortical white matter tracts."

Altering Cortical Connectivity: Remediation-Induced Changes in the White Matter of Poor Readers; authors Timothy A. Keller and Marcel Adam Just
Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging, Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

It sparks your imagination to actually work.
It is enjoyable.
You can not curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a television in your lap. (I do NOT want to hear about how you could do it with an IPOD; that is hardly the point!)
There are a vast number of wonderful books that have been written and never been made into movies.
You can do it anytime since it will not wake anyone in the house.
You can do it anywhere; well do NOT do it in the car but other than that. . . and not at a wedding or a funeral. Okay, okay there are some places you should NOT do it but. . .
It may prevent Alzheimer's disease.
"Reading Reduces the Risk of Alzheimer’s

In his landmark study into Alzheimer’s disease, The Nun Study, David Snowdon reviewed biographies that the nuns wrote in their early twenties. He discovered that the grammatical complexity and idea density in the autobiographies reflected the woman’s potential for Alzheimer’s late in life (the nuns who entered the study had to be at least 75 years of age).

Nuns with higher grammatical complexity and idea density in their writing were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s in old age. Those nuns whose autobiographies were less complex were at a greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s.

When Snowdon and his colleague Susan Kemper shared their findings with another colleague, his response was not that of a scientist but that of a father. “What does this mean for our children?” Happily, their response provides a simple solution; read to your children.

The key that reveals a person’s potential resistance to Alzheimer’s is revealed by a person’s ability to write with a high level of idea density. Idea density relies on vocabulary and reading comprehension. Susan Kemper said it this way “the best way to increase vocabulary and reading comprehension is by starting early in life, by reading to your children.” (117)"

This one reminds me to tell you: READ TO YOUR KIDS!
It actually slows the aging process.
It prevents wrinkles and age spots and varicose veins. . . okay I made that up.
Just try reading. For recommendations try the lists I will begin making up with different labels in later posts. I welcome any comments of books you love.
Thanks to Duff for the idea for this latest post.

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