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I investigated the effect of reading thoroughly. For details, please click (tap) each item of the table of contents.
※Content is hard but full of information that you want to acquire reading habits

reading page Contents

Concentration Power

The person who has no concentration power is Now increasing!?


point 1 : Reading books increases the power of concentration
point 2 : Reading articles on web pages cause scattering of attention

There are many navigations and advertisements and image hyperlinks on web site.

'the shallows' written by Nicholas George Carr says

Hyperlinks not only point at supplementary documents but hurry us up to the documents.

As a result we don't ongoingly pay attenion to one text, but glance over one thing or another texts.Hyperlinks are designed to attract our attentions.They are useful but cause dispersion.


When we follow links, we are apt to forget the main theme what we should look into. This is thought to be dispersion.

the workings of the brain

It was revealed that both the text processor area(visual/speech/memory) and the prefrontal area(decision-making) of the brain are acting when we read texts on the web.

When we read books only text processor area is active. On the other hand, when we read texts on the web, our brain needs to change the text processor area and the prefrontal area each other. It is said that if this process is repeated, we become unable to read texts carefully.

When we read texts carefully without dispersion, our brain can do integration of knowledge, but it can't do at the reading on the web([1],Japanese edition p174).

Actually I got in online texts with a smartphone, then I didn't read books. To my surprise, one day I read a book and realized I can't read quickly, can't understand contents, and can't concentrate my attention on what I am reading.

We can easily search everything on the Internet now. But it may deprive us from careful reading. So we can't integrate our thought and lost the ability to think.

reading books increase the ability to concentrate

From the above facts, we had better read one article without hyperlinks.
Neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield says,
'In an age of Twitter and short attention spans, reading novels could be the antidote'.

reading helps to lengthen attention spans in children and improve their ability to think clearly.

Stories have a beginning, a middle and an end - a structure that encourages our brains to think in sequence, to link cause, effect and significance.([2])

When I read a novel, sometimes I forget the time. I think we need this sort of time; devoting ourself to text.

For better or worse, our brain make new circuits written in 'the swallows'. This is called synaptic plasticity. By way of example, when we become able to follow links to get new information, our ability to read texts carefully becomes weak or disappears.

The book says 'the brain choose the line(compared to a water channel) of least resistance'([1],p57),

in short, we choose soft option as a human! Thus we use smartphone research instead of reading books carefully, because smartphone itself has a dependency.

野球少年 I thought reading books and reading texts on the web are both same, but I can understand that they have major differences.

めーめI think so too.

ナカムラ How rarely you both saying proper thing.

バビー I think we should become conscious of our nature of brains' choosing easy way.

[1]『The swallows』 Nicholas George Carr Japanese version title 『ネット・バカ』 インターネットが私たちの脳にしていること ニコラス・G・カー
[2]Mailonline http:/www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2193496/Getting-lost-good-book-help-healthy.html 2017/08/30


How can we get literacy

Since we are boys and girls, it is said that reading books lead us more skilful reader and writer. How we get these ability.

we cited details from 'The power of reading' written by Krashen,Stephen D.

According to the research on the eighth grade students in America, the amount of reading and language examinations scores have proportional connections. These examination include basic skill,critical ability and composition ability(punctuation mark,word usage and idiomatic pharases, etc.).([1], page 20)

This also seems to apply to second language acquisition. Reading freely is said to be the most effective way. Because language is too complicated to teach, There are many reports that teaching in class(direct direction of interpretation, vocabulary, grammar, writing) is inferior to 'free reading'.

I think that it will be as written below. When we read books we continuously and repeatedly exposed to practiocal usage of words and sentences.

A language professional Willem A. Grootaers (who was priest and translator, whose language was Dutch and French, who can handle English and German easily and who was studying Japanese and Chinese dialects) said,

to study foreign language is not memorizing the 100 words meanings, but infer the main meanings from tens of thousands of words

(Japanese title 『誤訳(ごやく= mistranslation)』 三省堂 1982/7/1 3rd edition p.220-221)

His method is 'free reading'. He enjoyed double inferences on the detective storys without dictionary; infer native language to second language and storys themself.
Because he can actually handle many languages with complete control, this also indicate that 'free reading' is the most useful to get literacy.


literacy develops academic ability

We cannot get a high level academic ability due to 'free reading'.With free reading, we can obtain the base of a high level academic ability. In other words, without it, it will be very difficult to be a high level.(p14)

It is not an academic ability to decide life quality. But I think the more we have it, the better.

expanding the vocabulary fast

'Free reading' is said to be able to increase the vocabulary 10 times faster than intensive verbal learning.

When we read a million words, we can increase a thousand words at least. In a book for teenager, about 40-50 thousand words are used, So it is not so difficult for us to attain to a million words. (p23)

めーめ Is it ok to read my favorite book? I can keep reading interesting books.

野球少年 To study foreign language is difficult. But, I'm good at having a rough grasp of the text!!

ナカムラBut your "rough grasp" is often wrong.


[1]『The power of reading』 Krashen,Stephen D.

mental health

reading books is good for health

reduce stress

When I am reading books or when I'm in the library or book store, I'm relaxed. The reason is quietness. But we found that the reading itself reduce stresses. →Quotation from mail online "Getting lost in a good book can help keep you healthy",

In 2009, researchers at the university of Sussex found that just six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by more than two-thirds, more than listening to music or going out for a walk.

It is thought that the concentration required to read distracts the mind, easing muscle tension and slowing the heart rate.[1]

→Quatation from "30 minutes reading a week can improve your life" written by Liverpool university

Regular readers for pleasure reported fewer feelings of stress than non-readers, and stronger feelings of relaxation from reading than watching television, engaging with social media or reading other leisure material.

Without doubt, even I have something bad, it disappears or become something not worth bothering about if I focus my mind on other things. But the fact that reading book is more effective than listening to music or taking a walk is an astonishing fact.

prevent Cerebral age and Alzheimer's disease

A study from the University of California, Berkeley, found that engaging in brain-stimulating pursuits including reading could help prevent Alzheimer's by inhibiting the formation of the amyloid plaques(also called senile plaque). [1]

I think if we don't use brain cells well, they will think themselves out of use, then they die and become brain wastes.


ナカムラI can understand reading books relax us well.

野球少年 Because of reading books,Nakamura always relexed with her eyes closed while in class! What an amazing power of reading!!

めーめOh, maybe she is just sleeping.

[1]Mailonline 2017/8/30

http://www.ninchi-k.com/?page_id=8 2017/10/19

脳の活性化 brain Activation

Experience the story

babi- "Reading is an exercise of the whole brain and it is far from passive activity."

It is the word by John stein of Magdalene and Oxford University. I will quote it from Mail Online.

‘When we “get lost” in a good book, we’re doing more than simply following a story. When we imagine something, the brain is activated as it is actually doing it.

New MRI scanning techniques now enable science to prove this.

... when we read and imagine the landscapes, sounds, smells and tastes described on the page, the various areas of the brain that are used to process these experiences in real life are activated, creating new neural pathways.

me-meIf the character in the novel got a boy friend, I would get a boy friend too!

baseball boyThat means that I can make a lover too.

babi-... I feel somewhat different, but I think that such imagination is also important.

What part of the brain is working

I would like to illustrate how much the brain moves actively when reading a book, based on the explanation of "Proust and squid" below.

First of all, it seems that three big areas are active in the brain at the stage of deciphering words.([2],p190)

①The first region

occipital lobe (visual cortex and visual association field) and wide range of Fusiform spindle

Occipital lobe Fusiform spindle

②The second region

Various areas of the temporal lobe and parietal lobe... especially and angular gyrus and supramarginal gyrus plays an important role in the integration of phonological processing and visual processing, spelling processing and semantic processing (Wernicke area, which is the center of language comprehension for children, also acts remarkably actively)

Temporal lobe and parietal lobe angular gyrus and supramarginal gyrus Wernicke area

③The third region

Broca's area(Important language field of the left hemisphere)

Broca's area

In addition to these, we use various areas such as "thalamus" which is the distribution board of the brain and "cerebellum" which relays all five layers of the brain.([2],221) So it may be natural that you get tired if you read.

However, a skilled reader does not get tired as much as a beginner reading a book.

First, A skilled reader is rich in vocabulary. If you are rich in grammar and vocabulary you can imagine that it is hard to get tired because you can decipher fluent words.([2],p196)

Here, rich in vocabulary is meant that you know a lot of things in a word.([2],196-197)

For example in English, "- s" means an plural or third person singular when it is at the end, and "-ed" means past tense.
Also, "sing" and "singer" have a common root, but "- er" is added "singer" (singer) is used as a noun.

Because they know many of these morphemes (root, prefix, suffix etc), they will understand related words and common rules one after another.

And it is mentioned in "Proust and squid" that "Those enriching vocabulary skills are reading books".

By touching just the word and finding out how to introduce the meaning and function of the new word from the new context, the old word can be understood automatically and the new word will come into my brain quickly.([2],196)

brain of skilled reading

A reader's brain that can read fluently does not require much effort. This is because the specialized brain region represented important visual, phonological and semantic information and learned to search it with tremendous speed.
When children get fluency, their young brain activate both hemispheres, then came to use mainly left hemisphere which is more effective.([2],p216)

(*)to activate

Brain that runs while 0.5 seconds

I will explain how the brain works at the moment that reading reads characters.



First, distract attention from other things and pay attention to new character.(①)

Next, recognize that character and analyze the visual features (in the form of "a" or "e").(②)

Next, it judges whether the word is made as a meaningful word ("bear" or "rbea" or "reab").(③)

Next, we use the memory of the frontal lobe where various information is integrated and read that letter. At this time, it also affects the eye movement of going to the next character or reading back the character.(④)
※By the way, it seems that there is a possibility that the information of the character has been converted to sound in the frontal lobe before recognizing the shape of the word.

Then, I understand the sounds and phonemes that make up the letters.(⑤)

Using various brain regions, knowing that word, information accumulates. This makes it possible to read words faster.(⑥)

babi- In this way, when we read a book, we use various areas of brain, so we feel tired. But when we overcome this, our brain will highly evolved.

baseball boySurely when I read a dictionary with my arms stretched with a dictionary, I feel very tired.

nakamuraThat's not it!

[1]Main Online
[2]プルーストとイカ 読書は脳をどのように変えるのか? メアリアン・ウルフ 小松淳子(訳)

想像力 Imagination power

On this page, we will divide the imagination into two things,

"Imagination"(To create things in your own head that you never saw or heard.)

and "Empathy"(To infer the feelings of others that becomes indispensable for human relations. An important ability in imagination)


TEDEd「The neuroscience of imagination - Andrey Vyshedskiy 」

Here, I summarize the main points of this movie and explain about imagination.

Imagine what you have not seen.

'Dolphin that balancing pineapple'

Even though I have never seen such a thing, a person can imagine this.
People are used to this act, but in fact they do very complicated things.

To create a new thing which we have never seen is like making a collage from pictures. But the brain has to handle thousands of electrical signals in a handy way and send everything at exact timing.


A person encodes a feature of an object. An image of the encoded information grouped together is assembled in the brain.

In the case of pineapple, "sharp" "fruit" "brown" "green" "yellow" is coded, Each one of these features forms a group and memorizes "pineapple". Commentary on illustration


I understood that a person encodes and memorizes objects.
However, the mental image of 'Dolphin that balancing pineapple' is not memorized in the brain.
But why can you imagine?
In one hypothesis, "timing" is regarded as important.

When cells that remembered "pineapple" and "dolphin" were activated at the same time, we recognized these two images as a single event.
Commentary on illustration

And the prefrontal cortex can match the two timings.
It can send signals to cells that memorize "pineapple" or "dolphin" and activate them at the same time. By doing so you can imagine things you have never seen before.

But here is one problem.
Cells that memorize some images are very far from the prefrontal cortex.
Even though it must be activated at the same time, there is no timing with signals of the same speed.

However, the brain that has developed from childhood has a way to change the speed to convey.
That is a lipid called "myelin".
Covered with myelin, the speed will speed up.
If 100 layers are overlapped, the speed will be more than 100 times.
Depending on the thickness of this layer of myelin, the transmission rate is changing.
The formation of this myelin occurs from childhood.
That is, the development of the brain will evolve the imagination.


Empathy is decreasing!?

The following is an investigation in the US, but I anticipate that the same thing is going on in Japan as well.

At Michigan University, the ability to sympathize among college students in 10 years has decreased by 48%. (Tendency to emphasize oneself and disregard others)([1])

In the article by The Globe and Mail(2017/08/30)

Since around 2000 when SNS such as Facebook began to flourish, empathy declines remarkably.
These physically separated online environments produce (1) to let themselves have their own (treat as celebrities = desire to approve) and (2) to create cushioning (to break the interference with others) among individuals. And it makes it easier to ignore others' pain, and sometimes even makes others suffer.([2])

Because I have imagination I can sympathize with you

We believe imagination can be trained by books.

The amount of information of type is overwhelmingly small compared to audio and video.
With type with a small amount of information, it is increasingly necessary to think by yourself, supplementing with imagination is indispensable.

Naturally, it is decided that it is better to have higher resolution, such as image quality of photos and videos worthy of appreciation, or 3D quality when enjoying movies. However, from the perspective of human brain movement, the story changes. The more you see the one with higher resolution the lower the level of human imagination. Once everything looks detailed, you do not need to imagine ambiguous parts.([3],p51)

People repeatedly imagine everyday, it is thought that they are exercising imagination. As quoted in the activation of the brain,

We Imagine "landscape" "sound" "smell" "taste" on the page. Then, it turned out that various areas of the brain used to process these experiences in real life are activated while the brain creates a new neural circuit.([1])

By imagining, this phenomenon that a person can experience a completely different life from himself is said to not occur in television and games.

Break down the vicious cycle of
I am tired of imagining→I rely on easy-to-see "images"→More imagination disappears→I can not understand the other's feelings

Let's make it the brain I am a bit tired but I will try reading→Supplement the ambiguous part with imagination→I has imagination→I will be able to think of your partner's feelings

Ability to understand others

For children, "picture book" seems to be effective as well. A picture book is a wonderful teaching material that teaches understanding to others to the brain of an infant who can not understand others and thinks selfishly.

Young children learn to experience new emotions by touching the act of reading. That eventually gives us a mental attitude to understand more complicated emotions.([4],p131)

It is not easy for children aged 3 to 5 to understand and sympathize others.
So children will syompathize with the thoughts of the characters through the story of the picture book and try to understand.
We are neither bears nor rabbits. We are not princess, and the prince does not come either.
We can not fly in the sky and adventure on the moon.
But you can "know" it, you can imagine and enjoy it. That is a picture book.
This childhood experience is the source of empathy of the present.

バビー What I remember in particular is the picture book "Good night gorilla-kun".I still remember paintings and stories.
Of course at that time I was enjoying without thinking anything. But when I think about it now, I think that I was surely considering the reasons for Gorilla-kun behavior.

From the time I do not know the word "feeling", I think that I was able to experience thinking about people's feeling by using picture books.

[3]本を読む人だけが手にするもの 藤原和博