The Number One Secret to High Intelligence, Limitless Creativity & Acing School (Backed by Science)

There are two facts that hold true in virtually every society where males and females have equal access to books and education.

  1. Females read more than males.
  2. Females do better in school than males.

While males tend to score better in math, there’s a tie for the sciences, and thereafter girls tend to be on the upward curve.

But why?

Is the fact that girls read more, the reason they tend to outperform boys? Or is it mere coincidence? And if boys pick up the slack with reading, will they finally catch up with their female counterparts?

How Reading Affects the Gender Gap in Education

According to the Economist, reading is the primary reason girls outperform boys in school. In an article entitled, Why girls do better at school than boys, they explain:

Reading proficiency is the basis upon which all other learning is built. When boys don’t do well at reading, their performance in other school subjects suffers too. 

…Boys, it appears, spend more of their free time in the virtual world; they are 17% more likely to play collaborative online games than girls every day. They also use the internet more.

Of course, there are other factors that affect the gender inequalities in school performance, including juvenile macho behavior, resulting in a “too cool for school” mindset.

In light of these additional reasons for unequal performance, when gender is removed from the equation, does reading still hold a strong argument for excellent academic performance?

The Effect of Reading on Intelligence

While attending college in Jamaica, the common phrase, constantly reiterated by our teachers, is that we were expected to “read for our degrees.”

To ensure we followed through with this, we were bombarded with requirements to read entire textbooks for up to 6 courses in a semester. If that didn’t get the point across to us, then nothing else would.

But let’s be honest. What teachers believe and what actually happens doesn’t always correlate. Is this one of those instances? Do students really read for their educational qualifications? Or is this an over-exaggeration pushed by passionate professors?

According to scientists at Edinburgh and King’s College, the teachers were exactly right. After tracking 1,890 pairs of identical twins for a decade, with varying reading levels, the team found:

…those who are better at reading tend to be smarter later in their development. Even at the age of seven you can already see the effect.

It is perhaps not a shock to learn that better readers develop higher levels of verbal reasoning. 

But what is perhaps more surprising is that children who have a better ability to read do better in non-verbal tests.

The scientists also found that children with greater reading abilities tended to have a wider imagination, and were better at retaining specific facts. They believe this “helps them think abstractly and rationally in fields of mathematics, science, and logic.”

But What About Adulthood?

While these studies have great implications, assuming childhood literacy and intelligence assures college academic excellence can be a bit of a stretch. We all knew that student — or several — who did great in their earlier years, but then peaked early, and never seemed to progress much further in life.

Well, according to School Media Library Research, the benefits of reading hold right into adulthood, and yes, college life. In a published study discussing the effects of voluntary reading outside of school, the researchers mentioned that college students who fell behind in school, correlated with students who read less and less after middle school.

The study even went on to explain why techies were often much more well-read, and more intelligent, than their peers. The study states:

…young people’s use of computers shifts away from games and toward accessing information as they get older. Students who use computers watch TV less frequently than those who do not use computers. People in households with computers spend just as much money on reading material as those without computers.

What Does This Mean for You?

It turns out that our Jamaican lecturers were correct: it’s important to read for that degree, after all. And the more of it you do, the smarter you become, the better you are at reasoning and stretching your imagination, and the better you are at testing.

All of that translates into not just better academic grades, but better work performance later on. In short, it makes you a much better human being, even with school set aside.

As the School of Library Media Research shares, “the premise that literacy is associated with school achievement, participation in a democracy, and self-fulfillment is widely held.”

With so many great benefits, why wouldn’t you turn the TV off, power down the video games, silence the cellphone, and do some reading? You have so much to gain, and nothing to lose in the process!

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About the Author

 

Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mate and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.

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32 Comments Add yours

  1. Norah says:

    Ah yes – reading! Of course. It’s why we need to encourage it from a young age.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you, Norah!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Vic Crain says:

    Reblogged this on CRAIN'S COMMENTS and commented:
    Excellent article on the importance of reading and good reading skills. She places it in an interesting context of why white males in the US are falling into poverty at a disproportionately high rate.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing, Vic. Glad you enjoyed it. It’s really sad that more men don’t read. And so many who do are only interested in books that tell them how unique and special they are and how successful they will be. Just ego fluff. Hardly anything useful or truly creative. Here’s to a brighter future!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The bit about computer use was most interesting to me. As your source said, when I was younger I mostly used computers for games. This slowly changed, and now I hardly ever play games. I now almost exclusively use computers to find reading material about topics I’m interested in, and to write about those topics. So maybe parents need not be overly worried if their children play computer games during their free time. Granted, this might depend on how often and at what age children start playing computer games.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There are some great computer games which actually encourage reading.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m not aware of any, but I did play a lot of computer games that taught me typing. I type pretty fast.

        Like

    2. I know PC gamers who don’t read, but someone always falls through the cracks. Some people will always be a special shade of ignorance you can’t fix.

      I was like you though. I spent a lot of time on the computer. Didn’t play games though. I was reading Encarta and Britannica and writing novels from around 6th grade when we got the PC. Then I took up blogging.

      It’s NOW that I play video games the most of all my life haha. I’m hopelessly addicted to The Sims. But guess what I’m usually doing when I play… reading. Yes, I read while playing video games. And sometimes I blog. Go figure. 😅😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, I have no idea how you manage to multitask while playing video games. I could never do that!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha, I probably couldn’t do it with other video games, but I think it’s easy with The Sims. I don’t know any other simmer who does it though, and they asked me the same thing. 😂 Practice?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I know when I was coming up in America’s public school system there was always this culture of low expectations for African Americans, especially males. Sometimes we were our own worst enemies, shaming each other for being able to speak correct English and being accused of “acting white” for showing any interest in our academic studies. But I credit my home environment (though extremely strict and sheltered) for instilling in me as well as my sisters a love of reading.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can tell you’re a reader, for how well you write. Educated people tend to be readers anyway, albeit involuntarily at times. 😂

      I don’t think Jamaicans do as much of that, but it does happen. Education is a pretty big deal for us. A college degree is a mark of class, and achievement. But… a guy who is super bookish is likely to get picked on for being soft. I also got teased for speaking proper English, but I really didn’t care.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I have learned a lot anout boys since having a son of my own and one of the things I learned was how often as a teacher I had got it wrong. In my experience boys tend to like non-fiction. I am passionate about reading so I hope you don’t mind if I go on a bit.
    I n my experience there was not nearly enough non-fiction for boys to read.
    I used to voluteer in schools and I had loved the luxury of having the time to really talk and listen to children. I learned a lot about boys and the things they tend to want to talk about. They taught me a great deal.
    One day i put my foot down with my son’s teacher, I had just said, sorry we are done with the reading scheme. I just let him read what he wanted.
    He never looked back. he is now at his second year at university, doing a double degree.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm…. it seems strange to me that boys wouldn’t have a lot of nonfiction books to read. I was never short of that, thanks to encyclopedias and textbooks. School is the time in our lives we get the most nonfiction reading in

      Like

  6. Yes there are many non-fiction books in schools but teaching children to read using non-fiction is a relatively recent phenomenon. I personally feel I let boys down at times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really? They had us reading those boring textbooks all the time at my schools. I remember us reading about West Indian history from as early as 2nd grade!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Is that abnormal to have textbooks that early? They were simplified, but still textbooks. We also had books for geography, and I think science and social studies.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I used the computer all the time, to help with all areas of the curriculum.
    There are some wonderful programs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I miss Britannica and Encarta. I wish I could get some of those old downloads, so I can keep them on my computer. I had so much fun with those!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been hunting, but no luck. They have online versions now. Nowhere near as good.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Now it is my son who is teaching me about the computer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha — sounds like me and my parents!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. He helped me with the CSS on my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That I don’t mess with haha. I haven’t messed with coding since MySpace days.

      Liked by 1 person

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