Before I get to that…I’d like to welcome Angela Walter to the SMAA Master Club.  Angela has set her goal to earn her Adult Black Belt before she leaves for college.  She’s on her way!

So, would you like your child to have better social skills?

If you answered yes, then one answer comes from an unlikely place, according to an article published yesterday in the New York Times.

I just love this:  Read Fiction (and for younger children, read to them)

Yes, sitting there reading a fiction book has been shown by psychologists at York University in Canada to hone our social skills.

The reason?

Fiction readers could better understand people, empathize with them and see things from their point of view.

Fiction also gives children a better theory of mind and the ability to understand and predict other peoples’ intentions.

NOTE: researchers did not see a benefit from watching TV or video, only reading.

“The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated. Keith Oatley, an emeritus professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto (and a published novelist), has proposed that reading produces a vivid simulation of reality, one that “runs on minds of readers just as computer simulations run on computers.” Fiction — with its redolent details, imaginative metaphors and attentive descriptions of people and their actions — offers an especially rich replica. Indeed, in one respect novels go beyond simulating reality to give readers an experience unavailable off the page: the opportunity to enter fully into other people’s thoughts and feelings.”

So promote reading as much as I do and make sure your child spends more time in front of a page than in front of a screen (unless it’s an e-reader)

Remember: All Leaders are Readers

Here’s the link to the original article:

Your Brain on Fiction