For a long time I've been telling children I meet in bookshops that reading will make them clever. Reading uses the part of your brain that transforms squiggles on the page into sounds, and the part of your brain that interprets those sounds as words, and the part of your brain that connects those words to meanings. It also uses different parts of your brain to remember what has happened before in the story, visualise images of what is happening, and speculate about what might happen next. 'It's like a complete work out for your brain,' I tell them.
It's hardly rocket science to work that out, is it?
In the inimitable manner of academics, someone in the US has recently researched the effects of reading on brain activity and established that reading triggers changes in the brain.
'Being pulled into the world of a gripping novel can trigger actual, measurable changes in the brain that linger for at least five days after reading, scientists have said. The new research, carried out at Emory University in the US, found that reading a good book may cause heightened connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that persist in a similar way to muscle memory. The changes were registered in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, as well as the primary sensory motor region of the brain.'
Now, what was I saying?