Read for Pleasure to Significantly Boost Intelligence


According to a recent study from the Institute of Education in London, children between the ages of 10 and 16 who read for pleasure are significantly better at math, spelling and vocabulary compared to their peers.

The study, conducted by Dr. Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown, examined 6,000 young people who had been observed by a 1970 British cohort study. The study focused on how often teenagers read during childhood and their subsequent scores in math, vocabulary, and spelling at ages 5, 10, and 16.

Related Article: Brazilian Prisoners Read Their Way to Freedom

The study found that:

those who read books often at age 10 and more than once a week at age 16 gained higher results in all three tests at age 16 than those who read less regularly.

As a lifelong, daily pleasure-reader myself, this struck me as remarkable news.  Reading for pleasure, something I find incredibly entertaining and engaging, has been shown to be intellectually beneficial, even in the realm of math!

The best part of the study though is that the researchers found that reading for pleasure is even more important for cognitive development than the parent’s level of education.

The combined effect on children’s progress of reading books often, going to the library regularly and reading newspapers at 16 was four times greater than the advantage children gained from having a parent with a degree.

This means that we are in control of our cognitive development in the same way that we can exact change on our genetic dispositions through epigenetic markers. However, parents can still play a vital role in their child’s development by reading regularly to their kids.  Children at age 5 who had parents who read to them scored better in all three tests when they were 16 compared to children without bedtime stories.

Related Article: Neocortex: How Human Memory Works and How We Learn

While it is surprising that reading for pleasure can have such a wide array of benefits on the mind, Dr. Sullivan explained that:

It may seem surprising that reading for pleasure would help to improve children’s maths scores, but it is likely that strong reading ability will enable children to absorb and understand new information and affect their attainment in all subjects.

The study showed that it is also highly important for parents to use a high vocabulary when speaking to their children as this will greatly boost the child’s vocabulary from an early age.


“Geeky is beautiful”

As Dr. Sullivan notes in her conclusions, it is is important to encourage children to read for pleasure. One of the best ways to do this is to show children the fun of reading.  Turn off the television and explore a world written on pages with your child.  Go to those worlds with them from an early age, and they will likely continue to independently read for pleasure for the rest of their lives.

Related Article: TVs, Brains and Zombies, Oh My: The Effects of TV on the Mind

Find out what your child is truly interested in, be it mystery, science fiction, fantasy, drama, romance, adventure, etc. and shower them in books. Their superior intelligence will be all the thanks you need.





NASA’s New Squad: A New Era of Space Travel


NASA recently announced the selection of a new squadron of space cadets. They’re expected to be the first “class” trained for missions to deeper space. Namely this batch is likely going to be responsible for  a new era in space travel.

The space cadet candidates were chosen from a starting pool of 6,372. Only about ten dozen applicants received the call backs of their lifetime. After extensive medical tests and interviews, the folks over at NASA selected their 8 diamonds in the rough. The members of this celestial octet will be members of a small (yet ever increasing) lineage of human beings who have seen the world from outside.

Related Post: NASA’s Planned Mission to an Asteroid

The 8 Balls

In accordance with NASA tradition, the last class of astronauts is responsible for the naming of the new class. So when NASA’s 20th group of celestial explorers (aka The Chumps) were given the opportunity they decided upon a much more meaningful name. The 8-balls, named for their importance in winning a game of pool, have a lot of hard work ahead of them.

Their two years of “basic training” consists of vigorous activities- which us groundlings can only begin to imagine. The details so far seem vague. Bob Behnken, chief of the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center has some input on how the training will go:

The astronaut candidates, or “ascans,” will be instructed on the technical aspects of living and working aboard the space station. They’ll also tour NASA’s facilities across the country, “so that the class as a whole will have a good understanding of all the things that go into making NASA as successful as it is,” Behnken said.

First, though, they will be given flight training at the nearby Ellington Field in Houston and, for some, at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., as well.

“They will also have T-38 [supersonic jet] training, where those who already have an aviation background will hone their skills in the T-38 and those who do not will have the opportunity to get that aviation background under their belt before they start supporting crews who are on orbit,” Behnken said.

Related Post: Amateur Astronomer Films Jupiter Explosion

Whether or not you consider the gender polarization of this class, it is definitely clear that these new space cadets will be shuttling in the future of extra-worldly travel. Part of their basic training consists of living aboard the space station. That’s right. That’s just the training.

These Space Travelers are expected to travel further out than any other astronaut from the U.S. Eventually, they may even be among the first to travel to a near-earth asteroid and perhaps even Mars!

Related Post: Sign Me Up For Mars!

Only the future can be sure of what is in store for these folks. Their story is going to be that of awe and wonder.



Sources and Additional Reading