Reading is the cornerstone of wisdom. No matter what people say, reading can never be replaced by any other activity as a source of infinite knowledge. However, not all people who read are considered conventionally smart. If you have been reading voraciously for a long time, but you do not find a difference in the way you think or in your overall level of intelligence, then it is time to broaden your horizon with wide reading.
Wide reading serves as a kind of shortcut for gaining an immediate increase in smartness by simply broadening what you read. It can be done while commuting on public transportation, having dinner, or during any other free time available throughout the day.
What is Wide Reading?
Wide reading simply means that while you read extensively on a wide variety of subjects and topics related to different fields such as arts, humanities, technology science, entertainment, etc. Wide reading also means that you derive your information from a wide variety of sources such as books, magazines, journals, newspapers and even social media!
How Does Wide Reading Make You Smarter
One of the greatest benefits of wide reading is that it has a tremendous impact on your mind and thinking. It helps to increase knowledge, enhances mental ability, sharpens memory power, and improves analytical skills.
1. Reading widely improves your vocabulary
By exposing yourself to different topics, you will be able to learn new words and phrases related to these subjects. This in turn can help improve your vocabulary which is an important aspect that makes you a better communicator.
2. It exercises the different parts of your brain
When you are wide reading, your brain is constantly working to process the information. This stimulates different parts of the brain which in turn makes it stronger and more active. For instance, reading fiction novels can help stimulate the part of your brain that is related to creativity while reading science and technology helps you to think critically about the world around you because it exposes you to a wide range of information.
3. Wide reading makes you a better communicator
The wide range of vocabulary that you pick up from a wide reading will help your writing and speaking skills improve over time. It is not your newfound knowledge of words but also new ideas that will help you to become a better speaker and writer.
4. It helps you improve your interpersonal relationships
In addition, wide reading helps you become more self-aware about your own opinions because you are exposed to different points of view. Another benefit is that it can help you become more empathetic towards other people because what you read inspires imagination and makes you better at imagining yourself in others’ shoes. This process helps develop empathy and in turn, improves your interpersonal relationships.
5. Reading widely equips you to understand other cultures and religions
Wide reading helps you become better at understanding other people and cultures because you ate exposed to different ways of thinking about various topics, which in turn allows them to develop a more compassionate mindset towards others. Reading widely also opens your mind for exploring new possibilities when it comes to religion or cultural perspectives on things like politics, social issues, privileges and intersectionalities.
How to Begin Wide Reading
- Pick up a book from each genre, including fiction, poetry, science fiction, and nonfiction alternatingly.
- Make time for reading every day – set aside an hour in the morning or evening.
- Try to read outside of your comfort zone by picking up a new genre or medium that you don’t usually read.
- Compare mediums of information with one another – think about how they’re similar and different from one another.
- Keep a list of all the interesting things you’ve read in order to track your progress over time.
- Share what you’ve been reading with friends and family members so that you have someone to discuss your thoughts with.
In the past, it was just as easy to have a conversation with someone who had read one book in their life as it is today.
But now that we live in an information economy where knowledge and expertise are currency, reading has become more important than ever before.
Reading widely will not only make you smarter but also help you learn how to think better too.
Here’s our best advice to new readers, to help wide reading for starters – subscribe to Qrius so that information from around the world comes right to you in your inbox!
Raaghavi Senthil is a content creator who loves to experiment with different genres and across verticals. Her love for books and longing for new experiences have together led to lifelong enchantment with words and their ways.
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