Does Reading Increase IQ? | Iris Reading
Does Reading Increase IQ

Does Reading Increase IQ?

Does Reading Increase IQ

Reading will increase your knowledge and vocabulary (which increases your crystallized intelligence), and it’ll help you detect patterns and solve problems (which increases your fluid intelligence). Reading also helps you understand and manage emotions (which increases your emotional intelligence).

Everyone wants a high score on the IQ test. Everyone wants to be considered intelligent. Intelligence sets you apart and helps you stand out from the crowd. Reading has been identified as one simple way to increase IQ.

This article will give you reasons why reading increases IQ and show you some books that can help. Lastly, we’ll show you other ways reading helps your brain. 

Let’s dive in!

Does reading make you smarter?

Reading makes you smarter because it increases your crystallized, fluid, and emotional intelligence.

To vividly see how reading makes you smarter (or increases your IQ), you need to understand what IQ is.

What is IQ?

IQ, or Intelligence Quotient, is simply a measure of human intelligence.

There are three types of intelligence:

  • Crystallized Intelligence. It describes all the facts, data, and information you’ve acquired from learning and experience. So, it includes raw knowledge, acquired skills, and vocabulary.
  • Fluid Intelligence. It describes the ability to think abstractly, detect patterns, make connections, and solve problems.
  • Emotional intelligence. It describes the ability to identify, understand, and regulate emotions (both on yourself and others).

Reasons why reading increase your IQ

There are many reasons why you should read every day, and one of the most important is that it increases your IQ. 

Reading can increase your IQ because of the following:

1. Reading increases knowledge

Every book had some facts or information. So, when you read, you receive these facts and information. The more you read, the more you’ll know. 

So, there is a direct relationship between reading and crystallized Intelligence (what you know). The more you read, the more your crystallized Intelligence improves.

2. Reading expands your vocabulary

Reading makes you more eloquent as it exposes you to new words and the rules of written grammar.

Learning new words from reading is better than memorizing words from the dictionary. This is because, in reading, you’ll learn both the new words and how to use them in contexts. 

Learning words contextually makes it easier to remember them and adopt them in your speech.

Vocabulary is part of crystallized intelligence. So, as you improve your vocabulary through reading, you increase your crystallized Intelligence.

Acquiring new words contextually through reading also helps our fluid intelligence. As you try to decipher the meaning of a new word from the context, you build problem-solving skills.

Reading does more than arm you with a body of words and their meaning. It exposes you to the rules of written grammar. 

For example, when reading, you’ll vividly see how sentences are structured – the proper arrangements of words, phrases, and clauses in a sentence.

So, reading increases your ability to bring words together and speak fluently or express ideas clearly. And when you are well-spoken, you will sound smarter.

3. Reading expands your thinking

Reading broadens the mind and increases your problem-solving skills.

This advantage partly comes from having increased knowledge. With more in your knowledge bank, you’ll have more to refer to when faced with a problem.

Reading also helps you detect patterns, which increases your fluid intelligence. 

Learning to detect patterns and make connections increases your analytical thinking and problem-solving skills.

4. Reading increases your empathy

Reading exposes you to others’ thoughts and experiences, helping you understand their emotions.

Empathy is a critical component of emotional intelligence. This is because you need to recognize and understand others’ emotions to know how to handle them.

To understand how reading helps boost empathy, we need to understand the three stages of empathy.

  • Cognitive empathy: knowing and understanding what others feel
  • Affective empathy: sharing the feelings 
  • Compassionate empathy: taking practical steps to help

When we read nonfiction to know what’s happening around us:

  • We may have a deeper understanding of other people’s struggles. So reading brings about cognitive empathy.
  • We may be deeply pained by what others are going through. That’s the activation of affective empathy.
  • We may be motivated to explore ways to make a difference. That’s the activation of compassionate empathy.

However, you don’t have to stick to nonfiction to better understand and handle emotions for better interactions.

Research has shown that reading literary fiction may even be better at this based on transportation theory.

When reading literary fiction, you can get emotionally “transported” from your world to the story world. 

Similar psychological processes are used to navigate fiction and real-world relationships; reading fiction helps you identify others’ emotions better.

The act of reading itself boosts brain activity, so whatever you read will work towards increasing your IQ. However, particular books are specifically written to improve IQ.

Books that increase IQ

Some of these books are:

1. Hidden Habits of Genius: Beyond Talent, IQ, and Grit – Unlocking the Secrets of Greatness

Professor Craig Wright, the creator of Yale University’s popular “Genius Course,” wrote The Hidden Habits of Genius.

In this book, Prof. Wright reveals that we can learn from the lives of transformative individuals that have been dubbed geniuses. 

He closely examined the lives of past and present geniuses, including Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Leonardo Da Vinci, Andy Warhol, Toni Morrison, and Elon Musk.

He then identified 14 traits of genius – behavior patterns that are common to the great minds examined. These traits range from curiosity to creative maladjustment to obsession.

This book may not make you a genius, but embracing the revealed patterns of geniuses will make you more strategic and creative.

2. Thinking Fast and Slow

Thinking Fast and Slow was written by Daniel Kahneman, a world-famous psychologist and Nobel Prize winner.

In this book, Daniel explores the two systems that drive how we think – fast (intuitive and emotional) and slow (logical and systematic).

You don’t want to rush into a decision that needs more time for logical reasoning. However, you don’t want to waste time overthinking when you need to make fast decisions.

In Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel offers practical and enlightening insights into when and how to tap into the benefits of each speed of thinking (fast thinking and slow thinking).

The book also offers how we can use different techniques to overcome mental glitches that often get us into trouble.

3. Black-and-White Thinking: The Burden of a Binary Brain in a Complex World

Black and White Thinking was written by Dr. Kevin Dutton, a British Psychological Society Fellow and research psychologist at the University of Oxford.

In this book, Dr. Kevin uses evolutionary biology to explain our tendency for categorization and offers practical steps to escape the pitfalls of binary thinking.

He explains that our binary, black and white brain was essential to our survival as a species. But as the world has evolved, the binary brain often leads us astray by forcing us to sort things into simplistic categories.

The categories explore three thought processes – “flight or fight,” “us versus them,” and “right or wrong.”

In an era where most people think in terms of black or white, this book will help you think in terms of grey areas. It will help you in thinking creatively and exploring alternative options.

4. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Blink is authored by Malcolm Gladwell, a renowned thinker who has been included in the Time “100 Most Influential People” list.

The phrase “thinking without thinking” references decisions made in an instant that aren’t as simple as they seem.

The book explains that great decision-makers are not those that spend a lot of time deliberating but those that can filter the few factors that matter to make fast decisions.

Importantly, it’ll teach you how to do this. You’ll learn why some people make brilliant decisions while others consistently fail. 

And why do some follow their instincts and win while it doesn’t work for others? 

Find out why on Blink.

Other ways reading helps your brain

Reading also helps the brain by strengthening connections, improving communication within the brain, increasing working memory, building focus, and relieving stress.

1. Reading strengthens connections in the brain

Studies have shown that when we read, the connections in the left temporal cortex of the brain increases. This is the part responsible for language processing.

The heightened connectivity is observed not only when reading but also for several days afterward.

Reading also strengthens connections in the central sulcus of the brain. This is the part responsible for the sensory-motor activity.

2. Reading creates new white matter in the brain

Reading creates new white matter, which makes the brain faster.

White matter contains nerve fibers, which are extensions of nerve cells (neurons). The nerve fibers are covered by myelin which protects them and improves the speed and transmission of electrical signals along the nerve cells.

So, by creating new white matter, reading helps your brain create a neurocellular network for faster and more efficient transmission of signals.

In layman’s words, reading improves communication within the brain.

3. Reading improves your working memory

Reading is a neurobiologically demanding activity. This is because it brings together other brain parts that have evolved for other functions, such as vision, learning, and associative learning.

When we read, we’re forced to imagine and create a narrative. All the mental activities work to keep your memory sharp.

To increase the workout that reading does to the brain, try speed-reading. It challenges the brain more because you take in information faster.

There are excellent online courses to learn speed-reading while comprehending what you read. 

If you’ve not tried speed-reading before, the Speed Reading Foundation course is a good starting point. 

And to master the art, you’ll find the Speed Reading Mastery course perfect.

4. Reading reduces stress

Reading is one effective way to reduce stress. Studies have shown that reading is just as effective as yoga and humor in relieving stress.

The connection between reading and stress relief is that reading decreases the arousal of the sympathetic nervous system (the system that causes the body to react under stressful conditions). It does this by serving as a good distraction.

5. Reading strengthens focus and concentration 

When reading, you’ll have to concentrate on the material to comprehend it. This requires blocking off distractions and focusing on the reading material. 

So, by reading, you learn to block off distractions and to pour your attention into something. This can carry over to other areas of your life to make you more productive.

One of the best ways to strengthen focus when reading is speed-reading. Speed reading helps you build focus than the traditional reading style because you’ll have to cover about 100 more words per minute.

The AccelaReader is an excellent tool that’ll help you speed-read and build your focus.


Reading is more powerful than many people realize. 

It can make you smarter because it increases the different aspects of intelligence.

  • Reading will increase your knowledge bank and vocabulary, increasing your crystallized intelligence.
  • It will make you detect patterns quickly and make connections in problem-solving, increasing your fluid intelligence.
  • Lastly, it will help you understand and manage emotions towards having better interactions, increasing your emotional intelligence.

In addition, reading will strengthen brain connectivity, improve communication within the brain, increase memory, help you build focus, and relieve stress.

Reading does so much good to the brain. But you can only reap these benefits if you’re a reader. So, improve your reading skills.

Iris Reading is an expert in the field that has helped thousands prove their reading skills. Using special courses, Iris Reading has helped both students and professionals to read faster, comprehend better, and remember more.

Register for the Speed Reading Course today to learn to read more in less time.

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  • Joe

    is this actually true I thought iq remains stable through out the rest of your life

  • Lalas Hasan

    Amazing article with a lot of beneficial information. I have really enjoyed reading it and would try to implement good reading habit in my life.