Campus

Why Reading More Fiction Will Make You A Better Student

It's backed up by science and everything.

Want an easy and entertaining way to become a better writer and test-taker?

Well, it’s your lucky day — Harry Potter in hard copy could just be the answer to your prayers.

Gives You A Better Vocabulary And Sharper Comprehension Skills

Reading fiction is a guaranteed, minimal-effort-required way to improve comprehension and expand your vocabulary. Instead of desperately scrolling through the thesaurus in Microsoft Word every time you write a uni assignment, you could instead learn fancy new words while reading an entertaining thriller in your free time, and end up finishing your essay faster.

You’ll also notice yourself becoming an amateur Charles Dickens in grammar and sentence structure.

Better Brain Function

In a study titled Short- and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain, neuroscientists found that being an avid fiction reader can drastically improve brain connectivity and function. Fiction readers demonstrated enhanced ability to flex their imagination in a way that is quite similar to the visualisation of muscle memory in physical activity. Better brain function = better uni work.

Reading novels has also proven to develop individuals’ Theory Of Mind. To put it simply, Theory of Mind, or ToM, is psychological term referring to our ability to be really empathetic.

Reading fiction, (not watching), enables us to place ourselves in someone else’s shoes and be more open-minded. ToM is only an innate potential ability in humans, which often requires advanced levels of intelligence and many years of social experience and interactions for its full development. ToM can make us excellent critical thinkers and analytical essay writers, giving us the ability to write objectively and thoroughly analyse differing opinions.

Manages Stress

We all need time during our day to disengage and rest our cognitive capabilities. Our brains cannot operate at full capacity 24/7, so reading fiction in between classes is an excellent way to recharge and return to peak functionality for our later tutes.

Reading has been shown to put our brains in a “trance-like state” that reaps the same health benefits of deep relaxation as meditating. The New Yorker reported that bookworms often sleep better, stress less, have higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers. A study at the University of Sussex also found that reading is the most effective way to overcome stress, even more effective than other methods such as listening to music or exercising.

Helps You Get A Better Nights Sleep

This type of relaxed ‘disengagement’ that we enter when reading is also the ideal space for helping us sleep. In line with uni-student stereotypes, we do often suffer from lack of sleep (whether that is the case because of intense study or Netflix binges is irrelevant).

I’ve found that having a sleep routine is also an excellent way to improve quality of sleep. By opting for a hard-copy novel before you get some shut-eye, you’re able to demand present-state attention, thus promoting relaxation.

Memory Booster

Ever wish you had photographic memory so that there was no point in memorising 50 maths equations? Same. Like, imagine how much easier studying would be if we had incredible memory?

Now, while I don’t know whether you can ever teach yourself to have photographic memory, you can definitely improve your memory skills via consistent reading.

As most people know, one of the best ways to memorise anything is to make it a story — this isn’t really surprising given how much our brains love patterns. However, reading in itself in an excellent way to boost memory skills — you’re consistently learning how to analyse and store relevant information.

Join the bookworm cult and become the cat-obsessed, analytical writer you were always born to be.

(Lead image: Riverdale/The CW)