Reading Fiction Improves Language Skills

Just as reading textbooks gives us knowledge of a particular subject, a recent study published in the journal Reading and Writing has shown that reading any type of fiction is good not only for leisure and also helps in language skills. The research was carried out by Professor Sandra Martin-Chang and Dr Stephanie Kozak from Concordia University.

By reading books, people especially the younger generation can learn many things such as grammar, vocabulary and phrases used in writing. Life long readers are also noted to be more understanding, empathic and less aggressive than non-readers. Reading at a younger age can aid in developing such qualities that can be beneficial in our society.

“This ingrained interest, wanting to read something over and over again, feeling compelled to read an entire series, feeling connected to characters and authors, these are all good things,” Martin-Chang explained.

The researchers used a scale known as Predictors of Leisure Reading (PoLR) to study behavioural patterns such as motivations and attitudes on their test subjects. They also observed that young adults are motivated to read fiction more than other age groups. Thus giving this particular age group more resources on improving their language skills.

The test subjects also completed a series of tests such as language tests and author recognition tests. The result was that those who scored higher points read more than those who scored lower points. From the result it was concluded that reading fiction not only gives more knowledge about language but also gives pleasure and can inspire the reader to have positive thinking.

There are so many writers writing books on fiction nowadays that it’s very easy to buy and read even on your phone. The writers have to make sure that not only are the stories interesting but also sends a positive message to the reader. Writers have to do research on the genre they write on. Therefore, they also learn new things which they pass on to the reader. Stories about love, family and friendship can inspire readers to be kind and compassionate towards others.

“It’s always very positive and heartening to give people permission to delve into the series that they like,” Martin-Chang notes. “I liken it to research that says chocolate is good for you: the guilty pleasure of reading fiction is associated with positive cognitive benefits and verbal outcomes.”


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