Reading is fundamental, plain and simple. This is a message that has been taught to me ever since I was young.

It is true reading is fundamental, and there are so many benefits just from finishing a novel.

In my opinion, the top three benefits of reading are mental stimulation, gaining knowledge and memory improvement.

Reading along with other mentally stimulating activities such as puzzles can help slow or prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. The brain has to be stimulated to be useful, just like muscles in the body. The brain gets stronger and works better the more you use it.

Reading books about things that interest you — such as an important person or event in history, a book about cooking or even a how to get rich quick book — will make you smarter in that area.

Although you might not automatically become a master on a topic, you would be one step further to becoming a genius. Reading informative books gives us so much information and knowledge. Reading can help expose and teach us so much.

Picking up a good book every now and then can also help with memory improvement. Reading gives you more focus and concentration. Reading helps improve memory because you have to remember the characters or the different settings, the things leading up to the climax, etc.

You have to remember different parts of the story to fully comprehend it. With every new memory created, a new brain pathway is formed.

I encourage older siblings to take a few minutes out of their day to read to their younger siblings. School is just around the corner, and I read with my baby brother, who is 5, almost every day.

I would tell you about the horrors of technology and how it has taken over our generation, but instead I want to let you know that technology is a good thing if used properly. Seeing that technology is a huge part of the younger generation, it only makes sense to incorporate it in the reading sessions you would have with that young sibling.

A website that is helpful with reading, among other things, and is designed for younger kids is My baby brother spends a lot of time on an iPad, so another thing we did was downloaded an app called Raz-Kids, which gives him stories and short quizzes to develop his reading comprehension skills.

I have noticed that these are good ways to encourage a young child to learn how to read because the websites make it fun.

Another thing I encourage is reading with an elder — maybe someone who never learned to read or maybe had to leave school at a young age to work to take care of the family.

There is no denying the gap between the older and younger generations — reading with them may not only work your brain, but it also could help the two of you connect with each other.

Dallas Collins is a junior at the Collegiate High School at College of the Mainland. She’s enrolled in Dickinson Independent School District.

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