Contributed By: Alexandria Ducksworth

Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson fears children will be illiterate in the next 20 years. He believes social media prevents them from ever picking up a book. One Stanford University study has stated social media is the culprit for users’ weakened attention spans and declined memories. Can consistent reading upgrade your brain? It has for former fisherman James Henry Arruda. The Connecticut native became a full-time reader when was 91 years old. He published his first book, In a Fisherman’s Language, at 98.

What happened?

Whenever you read, the brain transforms words into information. Reading strengthens the brain’s existing neural pathways and creates new ones. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University recorded significant white matter development in tested children. White matter quality has increased after 100 hours of reading training. This matter is responsible for carrying signals to grey matter where information is arranged. Meanwhile, at Emory University, researchers discovered their test students’ improved brain development after reading Robert Harris’ Pompeii. Every night, students read 30 pages of the book and completed a reading quiz. Brain scans revealed the brain’s left temporal lobe strengthened connectivity after reading.

The left lobe has five responsibilities:

  • Arranging sensory input
  • Balancing emotions
  • Memory
  • Reading comprehension
  • Receiving information

Are you ready to build a better brain? Here are some tips to get you started:

1.Take a book with you everywhere
That way you can read on the bus, plane, or while waiting in line in front of the Apple store.

2. Cut out distractions
NO internet NO phones NO Netflix

3. Read for 30 minutes
Recent studies reported those who read 30 minutes a day have longer life spans than those who didn’t.

4.Create a book list
Scan through the library or bookstore shelves to find the books you want to read.

5. Join a book club
Find readers who share the same love of books as you do. GCPL have many book clubs you can join throughout Gwinnett County.

Reading can do amazing things for your brain and your overall health. Visit your local Gwinnett county library to treat your brain to a good workout!