Do Books Make You Smarter?

My thoughts:

Today I was wondering; do books make you smarter?Books and Intelligence

My son’s school tweeted the benefits of reading daily and how it makes you grow as a person. I thought this would be a great topic of interest for our readers; who wouldn’t want to be smarter?

So here’s how you can be smarter and grow from reading books:

  • you wonder, you question and you imagine when you read.
  • you think, you feel,  you connect, you infer, you learn, and you find something interesting.

I say yes that books make you smarter Okay there’s going to be some people out there that will point to the fact that “trashy” books do the opposite.

Maybe to certain people it will have that effect, but if those “trashy” books give something in return to those that read it, it’s not a valid point.

My point is, your brain is working in deciphering the words in the book which in turn makes you imagine, feel, solve or connect to the story.


Can reading make you smarter?

The correlation between reading and intelligence is so very close that some call it symbiotic. Fostering a habit of reading daily can make any person smarter.

There’s also scientific evidence to suggest that reading can make you smarter.  Scientists have gone ahead and categorized the 3  different types of intelligence.

  • Firstly, there’s crystallize intelligence- the type of intelligence where you learn or acquire, like when riding a bike or vocabulary.
  • Secondly, there’s fluid intelligence- those that can figure out patterns and solve things.
  • Thirdly, there’s emotional intelligence- this is do with understanding other people’s emotional state; understanding your feelings and that of others.

In a study ” What Reading does for the Mind,” authors Anne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stanovich suggests that reading and its cognitive consequences have a profound effect on the development of the wide range of cognitive abilities.

Cunningham and Stanovich confirm that the more you read the more the positive cognitive consequences. They agree with theorists that reading more as a child is the direct result of a better vocabulary.

Reading habits and differences among children are key reasons that reflect their vocabulary levels and differences. In addition, reading more also helps with verbal intelligence.

Cunningham and Stanovich conclude:

Those who read a lot will enhance their verbal intelligence; that is, reading will make them smarter.”


Your thoughts:

The brain is a muscle after all and daily exercise of it will maker it stronger! Now that you have my 2 cents,  what are your opinions; do books make you smarter?

Let me know about your reading habits and what books make you smarter!

See our other Coffee Shop discussion.

24 thoughts on “Do Books Make You Smarter?

  1. Reading does make you smarter.

    Books might not always make you smarter ‘coz my sister always clobbered me with them when I was a kiddie and concussion makes it difficult to read,eh?

    1. Hi Andre!
      Glad you agree that reading makes you smarter.
      Hope your concussion is gone? What did you do to get clobbered by your sister? We you being a smarty pants?

  2. Great post Dinh. Interesting to read about the different types of intelligence. I’ve always loved books and reading from an early age and I’ve often thought that the person who doesn’t read is no different to the person who can’t read, they both miss out on getting a different perspective on something they may really be interested in. The problem I have these days is that I drive or catch public transport a lot so I’ve turned to audio books on my phone. Do you think audio books have the same benefits as reading the book?

    1. Hi Diego!
      I agree with you that if you don’t read you will miss out on looking at things in a different perspective. I think reading books really does help with empathy and boosts your emotional intelligence.
      I just discovered the benefits of audio books. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read books but audio books are great when you have to do other things like housework. I don’t know whether audio books has the exact same benefits as reading a physical book but I can say that listen to audio books can boost your intelligence.
      Some people learn better from visuals, so books are great to help them improve their intelligence. Others respond well to audio, so listening to books can help others benefit from learning through audio books.

      Thanks for stopping by at Arlene’s Book Club!

    2. Hello – audio books are the only way I get chance to catch up on books. They’re a brilliant invention now we have the internet.

  3. Great question, reading is a very great exercises for brain memories and release stress. It doesn’t matter which book you like to read. I love reading, I could said yes reading make you smarter because the more you read the more knowledge you get. I like this topic. You did a great job, very nice.


    1. Hi Sophie64!
      thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      I think it’s a no-brainer that reading makes you smarter. I just read a blog recently and had to look up a word. I have certainly learned something there! When I have to research something I have to read the explanation. It helps me learn new things and increase my knowledge therefore making me more book smart!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. This is a pretty good question to ask. I know a lot of people do claim that reading does make you smarter, but does it actually? I think it does. I think it makes you smarter scientifically in the way that it boosts your memory, and that you can gain a lot of knowledge from the books you read. History based knowledge, random facts knowledge and a whole lot more. But you also gain human knowledge, which would be emotions, understanding and relating to things. I really do believe books help in that aspect most of all.

    1. Hi Olivia,
      thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
      I agree 100% that reading makes us smarter. The brain is like a muscle and as we use it more the stronger it will become. It’s like doing a crossword puzzle, it helps increase your knowledge of words as you do more of it and it makes you smarter as you learn those words. I think books help us connect to others and sharing emotions and understanding each other through books help build on the social aspect of intelligence.
      We all had to read at school, be it text books or plain old books for English and that must say something about why we read. It makes us smarter!

  5. Thanks for this post Dinh! I’m going to put the cat among the pigeons here and ask you your thoughts about reading via audiobooks? I personally feel it would not have that edge over traditional reading but who knows? I guess we have to do a study after 3-4 years and find out from the kids who used them!

  6. Awesome topic Dinh, and great thoughts on it, too. I’ve always considered myself higher in EQ than IQ. My heart rules over my frontal lobe. Fluid intelligence, as a label, is new to me. Is that folded into both EQ and IQ?

    1. Hi Lonna,
      thanks for your comments.

      What is intelligence? is a hot debate that have changed throughout the decades. Most notably, emotional intelligence is the front runner to the debate these days, overshadowing IQ.

      Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is number derived from a standardized intelligence test and I don’t think it measures one’s intelligence very well as it doesn’t measure emotional intelligence.

      Emotional Quotient (EQ) focuses on the emotions. Most women do tend instinctively to have higher emotional intelligence I find. They can decipher, evaluate, control and express emotions better than their counter parts:)

      Fluid intelligence as theorized and developed by Ray Cartell in the field of psychology, is one’s ability to see relationships, patterns and to solve problems, so it would tested as part of the IQ test.

      Some people box themselves into a category when they shouldn’t. If you have a weakness, try to improve on it and make your strengths equal. You don’t have to be just book smart 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I’ve always heard that if you read a book a week other than what you normally read, i.e the newspaper or what you see on the internet, you’re exercising your brain. I think this is a great practice I try to keep in progress. Thanks for this article, it is valuable information.

    1. Hello Rae Anne,
      Thanks for your input on our conversation Do Books make you Smarter.

      I agree with you that reading is exercising your brain but I would not agree that it is limited to books only as an extra activity. The written word works the same way on paper as it does electronically and the volume is what counts.

      The more you read the smarter you’ll be. According to works done by Anderson, Wilson and Fielding(1988), if you read just 21.1 minutes per day, you would have read 1,823,000 words read per year. However, doing 3.2 minutes per day, you would have read only 200,000 words per year.

      Reading 20 minutes a day is not too much to ask for when you want to exercise your brain and keep your mental abilities sharp.

      Thanks for popping by!

  8. I like this post, I think most definitely that books do make you intelligent. However, books are not created equal but they sure do have some kind of influence on the reader and that influence depends on the kind of book one is reading.
    Just by reading this post I have learnt something that I never knew before…. the different types of intelligence. I have probably only ever heard of emotional intelligence but until I read this post, I never would have been able to categorize intelligence, now I know and that is the effect of reading on the reader.
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Grace,
      thanks for your valuable input.

      I do agree with you that different books offer different kinds of intelligence. If you are reading a textbook then you’re not going to get any emotional intelligence from it but more crystallize knowledge.

      Your cognitive abilities will definitely increase as a result of reading though! So let’s get smarter by reading more 🙂

  9. I really enjoyed reading your post today because it talks about so many of the benefits of reading. The books make you smarter? Yes, and as you, I simply do. You can gain a lot of insight on any topic of your choosing, anything you are interested in.

    In fact, don’t stop and reading books when you can also look up and read information on the Internet. There’s a monstrosity of information to make you smarter in anything that you read.

    1. Hi Debra,
      thanks for your great comments!

      I totally agree with you on the benefits of reading and what you can gain from it. You can improve and enhance on your crystallize, fluid and emotionally intelligence just by reading! How amazing is that?

      There are so many books to choose from so whatever subjects you are into you can find out about it:)

      Thanks for stopping by at Arlene’s Book Club and we’ll see you next time!

  10. Hi,
    I definitely believe that books make you smarter…just by the words themselves. No matter what kind of book I am reading there are always several words that I need to look up and find out the meaning. I learned in my English class to do this as you read and even put notes on the side(if it is your own book) or even stickies. Every book has some sort of lesson in it I believe. Thank you. I love your Niche!

    1. Hi Terri,
      thanks for you comments on Do Books make you Smarter?

      I would agree with you that you get smarter just by learning new words from books. I am always learning new words and think it’s great when I come across ones that are specific to a subject or a book.

      Thanks for the compliment on Arlene’ Book Club. I am happy that you enjoy our website.

      Please feel free to read our reviews and leave your thoughts. We love interacting with our visitors 🙂

  11. I knew that reading had a great impact on the mind and always wondered how exactly reading made such an impact. You just answered my questions! I just heard yesterday or the other day just how important it is for a parent to start reading with their children as early as possible because of how much affect it can have on their comprehension and language skills.

    1. Hello Immamac,
      thanks for your valuable input!

      I totally agree with you on the importance of reading to your child as young as possible. It helps them acquire communicative skills and vocabulary. In addition, it encourage their curiosity. The skills they learn at an early age is a foundation to their growth.
      Cunningham and Stanovich say that the more you read the smarter you can become 🙂

      Thanks for stopping at Arlene’s Book Club!

  12. Cool topic, I love reading and kind of collect books myself. I would agree reading and books has made me smarter on some topics, you can never learn too much for sure.

    1. Hi Jeff,
      thanks for stopping by and commenting on Do Books make you Smarter?

      I think the general consensus is that reading books do make you smarter. Whatever you read there’s something to be gained from it.
      I agree with you that you can never learn too much. Life is a learning process!

      Please stop by again. You may be interested in our Coffee Shop discussion questions.

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