Benefits of Reading

Does Reading Make You Smarter?

While reading has always been known to be a hobby of the intellectual, it turns out that’s not just because intelligent people are drawn to reading. Reading can, in fact, make you smarter and increase your brain’s cognitive functioning.

Can reading make you smarter?

Intelligence isn’t a single, simple skill that one can learn. The brain works in dozens of different ways, with different types of cognitive skills and types of intelligence one can have. Reading does an incredible job of building multiple styles of intelligence at once.

Crystallized intelligence: Crystallized intelligence is what one might call “learned” intelligence. This represents what one has acquired through knowledge or past experience. Crystallized intelligence might be gained through study, but the easiest – and most fun! – way to gain crystallized intelligence is simply through reading.

Fluid intelligence: Fluid intelligence, by contrast, is not necessarily knowing a lot of content or information, but rather having the intelligence and skills to think critically and analyze. Some have a naturally high fluid intelligence by having an intuitive sense of problem-solving, logic, and solving problems. However, most people build their fluid intelligence through practice or trying new things. However, reading does a fantastic job of building your fluid intelligence by giving you practice working through hypothetical situations and analyzing new scenarios.

Emotional intelligence:Emotional intelligence is one’s ability to notice and identify emotions in others, as well as their ability to communicate about emotions with understanding and the ability to manage one’s own emotions well. Reading, through its ability to provide the reader with insight about the feelings and experiences of the characters, builds emotional intelligence and vocabulary.

Brain Connectivity: Your brain’s connectivity is a measure of how strongly your neural pathways are connected. Strong neural pathways are responsible for allowing you to make strong connections between related subjects, think quickly, and have flexible reasoning. Neural pathways are strengthened by regular use and practice. Reading helps build brain connectivity by acting as a sort of “workout” for your brain, strengthening your neural pathways and building strong brain connectivity.

does reading make you smarter. How books build your brain

Which books will make you smarter?

Just reading anything at all will do incredible work at building your intelligence and cognitive skills. However, that isn’t to say that all books are created equal when it comes to brain building. If you’re looking to challenge yourself and work on improving your intelligence, try out a few of these page-turners.

Adult Nonfiction:

“Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration” by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

According to, “Creativity continues to be pegged as a critical success factor and a pathway to differentiation in business. Yet, it can be one of the most difficult things for us to put into a defining practice for use. Using examples from today’s biggest creative successes in film, the book offers a glimpse of how to tap into the creative potential that is in all of us.”

Adult Fiction:

“Geek Love” by Katherine Dunn

According to, “There’s nothing difficult about the prose in Dunn’s cult novel — in fact, it zips right along. It’s more the novel’s stars, a group of increasingly demented circus freaks, and its overall strangeness that gets it on this list. Reading this novel feels like turning something not quite ripe over in your stomach for a week, while your mind delights.”

Children’s Nonfiction:

“The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

According to, “When a drought destroyed his family’s crops in Malawi, William Kamkwamba began looking for a scientific solution to help bis family survive. The result was a windmill, which brought them electricity. This remarkable story tells how William’s ingenuity and hard work saved his family.”

Children’s Fiction:

The Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osbourne

According to CommonSenseMedia.Org, “Parents need to know that the Magic Tree House books, written by Mary Pope Osborne, all revolve around siblings Jack (age 8) and Annie (7), who discover that a tree house in the woods near their home can transport them to different places and historical periods. The children are sent all around the globe to achieve specific goals, usually to rescue an important historical document. The books are all highly entertaining and educational.”

To help your child read throughout their life and become smarter and healthier, foster a love of reading early with Tidy Books. Tidy Books bookshelves are designed by a mom to foster childrens’ love of reading.  The original and unique design presents books to your child in an appealing, engaging way that allows them to have agency over their own reading experience from an early age. Check out our selection of shelving solutions for your child here.


About Géraldine Grandidier

Géraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile. She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids. Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

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