August 02, 2022

Reading: A Novel Approach to Code

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How reading books can make you a better coder

The myriad benefits of reading have been trumpeted far and wide, and rightly so! Reading transports us to new worlds, introduces us to new people, and offers us new insights about ourselves and the world. But here at The Coding Space, we’re getting even more specific. Here are three science-backed reasons why coders should spend some quality time with their noses in books.

Reading enhances empathy

According to Dutch scientist duo Matthijs Bal and Martjin Veltkamp, reading teaches you how to see the world from someone else's perspective and encourages you to care for a character’s problems. Empathy like this can be extremely useful for coders! Instinctively, coders that deeply understand a client’s needs and want to create something valuable to solve their problems are more motivated and focused.

Reading boosts creativity

When you think about “creativity,” you might first think of the arts – painters, songwriters, designers, poets. But creativity applies to many more fields than just the arts! You are flexing your creativity when you improvise a new recipe, when you offer a new idea in the boardroom, and — yes — when you code! 

In Why Reading Books Still Matters: The Power of Literature in Digital Times, Martha C. Pennington and Robert P. Waxler state, “If imagination connected to reason spurs discovery, innovation, and new understandings, it can be maintained that literature has a key role in both developing and engaging imaginative and magical thinking.” The ability to create new ideas is crucial in the world of technology, and reading is one of the easiest ways to develop creativity.

Reading enriches your facility with language

Perhaps most obviously, reading enriches your vocabulary and your mastery of language. Not only does an enhanced vocabulary make it easier for coders to explain their ideas to their fellow programmers, their clients, and their bosses, an expanded vocabulary also allows coders to practice skills critical to their craft — like decoding the composite parts of a language and learning the mechanics of syntax.

Looking for book recommendations to brush up on your reading skill and your coding chops at the same time? Check out our list of Coding Books for Kids.