Apart from gaining a lot of enjoyment, readers know how fulfilling it is to be transported into the imaginary world between the pages of a good work of fiction. Also, educators and brain scientists are aware of the importance of reading in the development of the brain and the imagination. In a study, neuroscientists in the US (at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia) found that reading fiction improves brain function and connectivity(1).

Reading also improves a reader’s imagination in a way that’s like ‘muscle memory’ in physical activity such as dancing and sport (when a muscle movement is practised over time, it creates long-term muscle memory, allowing the task to be performed without conscious effort). The scientists also found that while totally focused on reading a novel, readers could forget mundane problems and let their imaginations soar. Brain networks can be reconfigured for days and this may help shape a child’s brain.

Why is Imagination So Important?

Famous physicist Albert Einstein thought imagination was more important than knowledge because someone with a good imagination had the ability to find new discoveries and to create. Scientists and educationists now know that reading can broaden the imagination by stimulating the right side of the brain, literally opening up a person’s mind to new ideas and possibilities. Reading also helps us to analyse and experience the world through the lives of others, whether they’re fictional characters or ‘real’ (some would argue that even real-life stories are fictional but it’s too deep a subject for this article).

What Other Areas Are Enhanced by Reading?

Along with the relaxation that goes hand-in-hand with getting lost in a good book, reading non-fiction works on subjects that fascinate you can bring immense tranquillity, which helps the mind and the body. Tensed up muscles are relaxed and pain can be eased as a result. Successful cognitive skills are made possible by imagination and reading provides food for and improves the imagination. We all have stressors in life, from relationships, work, family, or health problems, but it can all just fade away as you delve into an engaging work of fiction. Reading also provides you with knowledge, which is something nobody can take from you.Continue reading