People who grew up reading a lot usually have these 10 unique traits

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If you’d met me as a child, chances are you’d find me invisible. You know why? 

Because as soon as we’d said our greetings, I’d be off in my mini-library, back to the imaginary lands I was exploring in my books. 

Does that scene sound familiar to you? Are you, like me, one of those people with their noses always buried in books as kids? 

Then I have news for you. All of those hours you were exploring new worlds have shaped you to be the person you are today. 

They’ve given you certain unique traits that set you apart from non-readers. Read on to know what these are! 

1) You love learning new things

Let’s start with the obvious: you’ve got an insatiable sense of curiosity. That’s precisely why you’ve nurtured that lifelong love of reading

Your parents nourished that curiosity by buying you lots of books (like mine did). For instance, I still clearly remember my very first book – Pat the Bunny, a sensory book for toddlers. 

That was such a great introduction not just to books, but to the world in general because it came with textures and smells that I could enjoy. That taught me that there’s so much out there I have yet to discover!

So, if you were a reader at a young age, you were primed to explore and discover the world, not just between the book covers, but in real life as well. 

You didn’t just read because it was required for school. You read for pleasure, for the fascination that comes with discovering new ideas, worlds, and perspectives.

It’s a gift that goes beyond the classroom or a professional setting. It’s a huge part of why you’re forever growing and evolving! 

2) You have a sharp memory and an eye for detail

This trait of yours is something you developed when you transitioned from picture books to all-text books. 

Since there are no more images to help you visualize, you’ve got to do the visualizing in your head. 

And what does that involve? Noticing and remembering the details in the text. 

I remember when I first started reading Alice in Wonderland. I had the edition with no photos, so I had to imagine what the scenes and characters looked like based on the descriptions alone. 

My fellow reader, I’m sure you know what that’s like. And I’m sure you’ve probably also noticed how you put that remarkable recall and eye for detail to good use in real life. 

I’m willing to bet that “detail-oriented” is in your resume!  

3) You can read between the lines

Naturally, when you start reading books at a young age, you develop sharp literacy skills. Which include not just being able to decode the words, but to grasp hidden meanings that go beyond the literal. 

You can understand nuances and subtext more sharply and quickly than a non-reader would. 

And once again, that’s a skill that spills out into the real world. How? 

  • You can detect underlying emotions, intentions, or motivations in conversations
  • You can respond to what’s unspoken just as well as to what’s said
  • You are sensitive to cultural/social norms that are different from yours
  • You can think strategically and solve problems

On top of that, you have sharp critical thinking skills! 

4) You’re a critical thinker

One of the biggest advantages of being a reader is that you develop a whole range of skills related to critical thinking

You see, the act of reading nurtures the intellectual skills and attitudes necessary for thoughtful and analytical engagement with the world. 

It’s safe to say you don’t fall easily for fake news. Also that you can understand different viewpoints, simply because you’ve been exposed to a whole lot of them. 

And let’s not forget logic – you’re a creature of logical reasoning, thanks to the many plotlines you’ve had to follow. 

(Side note: It’s also why you probably get disgusted with movies with lots of loopholes or that use cheap, nonsensical thrills to captivate the audience.)

That said, just because you’re logical doesn’t mean you merely think in straight lines, as the next section shows…

5) You’re creative

Does reading improve creativity? You bet!

Research shows that creativity is directly correlated to positive attitudes towards reading and writing. 

That totally makes sense when you consider that reading introduces us to imaginative scenarios. 

Take fiction, for example. Haven’t you ever felt inspired by the magical worlds you encountered in books? Middle Earth, anyone? Narnia? Hogwarts?

Even poetry inspires our creative juices with the clever plays on words, metaphors, and hidden meanings you’ll find in poems. 

To show you what I mean, read this super short poem “We Real Cool” by Pulitzer Prize winner Gwendolyn Brooks

“We real cool. We

Left school. We

Lurk late. We

Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We

Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We

Die soon.”

On the surface, it seems simple, right? But it’s packed with meaning and uses lots of poetic devices, such as line breaks, alliteration, repetition, and rhyme. 

Quite a creative way to deliver a sobering message, isn’t it? 

6) You’re a dreamer at heart

So, maybe you’re not the type to walk around with your head in the clouds. Maybe you’re always all business, no time to waste on wishful thinking! 

But if you’ve been a reader since you were a child, you aren’t fooling me. 

I know that deep inside, no matter how gruff or pragmatic your exterior is, you’re a dreamer. 

Because that’s just how all those books you’ve read have oriented you. They’ve taught you that imagination and dreams aren’t just for kids. 

7) You have heaps of empathy

Remember when I said you can read between the lines and detect underlying emotions? That’s why you can easily relate to other people

Not only that, but reading has also trained you to identify and connect with different characters. And as you grow older and the more complex your reading material becomes, so does your empathy grow. 

You even begin to see how villains are not just one-dimensional monsters. They’re complex, just as real-life people are. They might have just become that way because of a moving origin story. 

The point is, reading teaches you to see people that way, too. To not be judgmental because you never know what’s going on behind the curtain. 

That’s also why…

8) You choose your words carefully

Look, as any reader will tell you, words are powerful. They can make or break someone’s spirit. 

So, you try as much as you can to be mindful of what you say. You want to be as clear as possible and at the same time, be diplomatic. 

Believe me, whenever I meet someone who speaks in a tactful and diplomatic way, nine times out of ten, they’re a lifelong reader!

9) You are a master of focus

And you know all about flow. 

How could you not, when you’ve often been lost for hours in a book? 

What’s more, your ability to concentrate isn’t just useful for reading; it helps you as well in all other areas of life, from work to spending quality time with your loved ones. 

When he first met me, my husband said, “It’s amazing how you can easily tune out all the noise and just keep on working!” 

Yep, thanks to books, focusing just comes naturally to me. 

I admit that the advent of smartphones has been chipping away at my ability to focus, though. So I’m very careful to set unplugged times and just curl up with a book! 

Which brings me to my final point…

10) You know the power of alone time and reflection

Book lovers all over the world will agree with me when I say our alone time is precious. Not just for curling up with a good book, but also for just sitting with our thoughts. 

I’d say reading has honed our ability to self-reflect.  We’ve done it so many times after all, reflecting on what just transpired in a story. On its meaning. On how it affects us at the core. 

For example, upon reading Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” I remember closing the book and just sitting, thinking these thoughts: 

  • Why did it move me so much? 
  • Which character did I identify most with and why?
  • What episode in my life came to mind when I read this certain passage?  

This inclination to be thoughtful and contemplative is a trait that comes from years of reading for pleasure. 

Final thoughts

Books have enriched my life so much that I can’t imagine a day without them. A good book offers more than just exciting adventures or fascinating information. 

As you can see, the reading process shapes us in so many profound ways that show up in our real world as well. 

If you weren’t raised as a reader, though, don’t worry. There’s no expiry date for becoming one. Pick up a book, read even for just 15 minutes a day, and reading will soon become a habit for you! 

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