After a stint in the U.S., molecular biologist Rana Dajani returned to Jordan and noticed children didn't read for pleasure. "It's not a habit," she says. The literacy rate is high -- everybody knows how to read and write -- but nobody was opening a book for the simple joy of it. And that's problem, says Dajani, who studied the science behind it and found a surprising connection between reading and happiness. When a parent or a caregiver reads aloud to a child, the neurons in the brain start figuring out “hey this reading stuff is very soothing.” As a result, people read books when they are happy or sad or stressed because it floods them with good feelings. Her social enterprise, We Love Reading, teaches volunteers to read aloud to children, encouraging the habit at a young age. Reading is also associated with better vocabulary and empathy, which decreases violent behavior.