In my upcoming sequel to Helping Students Motivate Themselves, I have an extensive lesson on the effect of reading on the brain.

A study just came out of Stanford last week, though, and I quickly used it to put together a short Read Aloud that my colleagues and I are using in class. It’s short and sweet, and I thought readers might find it helpful, too. Here’s the downloadable version, and here’s what it says:


This Is Your Brain On Reading


Stanford researchers have found a “dramatic and unexpected increase in blood flow” to the brain when we read.  Stanford researcher Natalie Phillips said “the global increase in blood flow during close reading [if you were reading a text for a class] suggests that ‘paying attention to literary texts requires the coordination of multiple complex cognitive functions.’  Blood flow also increased during pleasure reading, but in different areas of the brain.”

As brain researcher Eric Jensen writes: “Oxygen is essential for brain function, and enhanced blood flow increases the amount of oxygen transported to the brain.”

The more blood flow we have to the brain, the better we learn.

Reading is one way to increase that blood flow, and movement is another.  That’s one reason we read, and one reason we physically move to get into small groups.

I had students copy the last three sentences in their notebooks, and then had them draw an image that would remind them of what it said.

It builds on the “brain as a muscle” lesson we did last week, which is in the Helping Students Motivate Themselves book and which is available for free on the publisher’s website.

I’m adding this post to The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning.