Title Card - Reading: The Best Brain Trainer

Reading: The Best Brain Trainer

In my mind, there are few things that are better than reading at helping to keep your brain sharp. Taking some time out of your day to read your favourite literature can go a long way to helping you feel focused and improve your vocabulary, among other benefits. Your favourite literature doesn’t have to be a novel, although it certainly can be, and as an avid novel reader myself, I highly encourage it. Both fiction and non-fiction books and novels are an excellent way to pass the time, hearing stories through the lens of countless talented and unique storytellers heralding from locations spanning the entire globe. There are stories in places ranging from North America to Africa, from the very real locations in our universe and outer space to locations that don’t even exist at all, sprung straight from the author’s imagination. All of these stories have something to tell, something to teach, and something new you probably have never heard before, and all of them have something that you can learn.

When I say that your literature of choice doesn’t have to be a novel, I meant that it can come from a wide variety of mediums. Some prefer not to read novels but instead read the newspaper or online news, hearing about the day’s events and soaking in the daily happenings from around the world. Others prefer magazines, ranging from Chatelaine to Popular Science, and everything else in between. Others still, like yourself, prefer reading online blogs and opinion posts from others on the internet, getting the humble scoop from the average joe. There are many ways to enjoy written media, and all of them are valid and give you something to think about or chew on, it just boils down to your own preference.

The written word offers multitudes of opportunity to expand your vocabulary and learn a language. The advantage of seeing the words in front of you is that you get to take your time in mulling over them, looking them up, seeing examples of their usage in complete sentences. Reading an author’s sentences is a dive into pieces of their personality: how they express themselves, their choice of words, their opinions and ideas laid out for you on a canvas. You get to listen to an author’s diction if you read aloud and understand them based on the words they carefully string together for your understanding and reading pleasure. Inevitably, the author’s thoughts and ideas will mix with your own, and even if you spoke to the author yourself, there is a high likelihood that there is something that you gleaned from the text that was just your own interpretation, your own idea built from the thoughts of the author and expanded upon to become your own. Great authors can create this feeling in many of their readers simply in how they choose to tell their story, and no matter how many times it feels as though words have been used in the same orders over and over again, it still often feels possible to hear a story being read and recognize an author’s sentence structure, quirks, or special turns of phrase. Everyone has a style, and it only takes reading them to become familiar. Whether it’s a columnist, a novelist, an article writer, or even an advertising copywriter, with enough practice and attention, patterns begin to emerge, and you can start to see the inner workings of an author’s pieces.

When I was little, I would read books all the time, sometimes consuming several smaller books in a single day. For some reason, there was a period of time where I stopped reading so much and found that my brain simply didn’t keep up the way it used to. I felt loose and off my game, my vocabulary slipping from where it used to sit when I devoured several books at once. After a while of this, I decided that enough was enough and I had to go back to reading something. Sure, it’s not nearly the same volume that I did when I was younger, I don’t have nearly the same time or energy for that, but I definitely found it made a world of difference. It is for this reason especially that I cannot recommend reading enough to anyone who would enjoy it, there is simply so much benefit that you can glean from reading even just a little bit a day.

Next time you get a chance, pick up a book or a magazine, or something that just seems fun or interesting. Then, keep it up. You’ll be glad you did.