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Column: Beyond a doubt, reading is fundamental

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Dr. Frank Roberson

The practice of reading has significant benefits for the young and the old. Reading the daily papers (as one example) can effectively stimulate brain cells, slowing down – or even stopping – mental decline.

Reading the newspaper daily can benefit brain health significantly, promoting novelty processing. Novelty processing is the practice of introducing the brain to new things on a regular basis, engaging the brain by learning new things or exposing it to new information keeps the brain cells active. Active brain cells repel dementia and promote scholastic success – particularly for the school-age population – and promote mental acuity or clarity for the senior population. Engaging the brain in novelty processing an maintain a high-functioning brain well into an individual's very-senior years. The senior population has a lot to offer the community, and reading is one way for the senior members to maintain a sharp mind. Society can benefit tremendously from the contributions of the seniors.

Grandparents can exercise their brain by having their grandchildren read their schoolbooks to them, and have them recite what was read.

The practice of reading is a lifelong event. Given that learning to read is such a basic expectation, it is easy for parents to look over the importance of their children mastering the skill to read from pre-school through the upper elementary grades and beyond. Parents must foster a partnership with their children's teachers. Good reading skills are the key to academic success in all subjects. Reading is necessary for independent-learning to take place. Success in all other subjects is rooted in good reading skills. Children must be encouraged to develop their reading skills. 

Reading starts at the beginning of the educational process and is a valuable exercise for brain function.

Reading the daily paper can nip mental decline in the bud. At the same time, it can prepare the individual for advanced cognitive processing and can be an excellent form of brain gymnastics. Reading can activate the essential cells in the brain, bringing about productive neurological functions. As such, reading should become a daily practice, ensuring a useful level of mental function well into an individual's senior years.

Engaging in social occasions with family and friends can be an effective method of novelty processing as well. Family and the gathering of friends, can in reality be a healthy brain-building event. It would be effective to designate a family committee to plan verbal and physical events such as taking a walk in the park or in the community. It would be effective to divide the group into pairs to engage in random conversation. The family organizer should plan for the pairing of members to be different, ensuring a complete rotation before the same pair walk and talk together again. The talking portion of this activity does for the brain what the walking does for the total body.

It is very appropriate to pause and appreciate everyone in the newspaper industry from the publisher to the courier for the daily delivery. It is actually a service to humanity. The newspaper industry promotes brain function and pleasure through the presentation of the daily news. It even gives strangers common topics to talk about. Such conversations activate the regions of the brain that activate the neurotransmitters to convey an opinion or a thought on a given topic. This in a real sense maintains the useful functionality of the brain.

A load of assistance resides in the senior members of the community. This very valuable resource can be tapped and utilized. Mental decline should not be permitted to put the seniors to the side, especially when activities that engage their brain can be employed.