Reading makes you more empathetic

How can regular reading increase your empathy for others?
It's thought that by reading about the lives of people who are very different from yourself, your empathy for others naturally increases.
For example, if you knew very little about a particular refugee crisis before you read about it, you might struggle to be able to put yourself in the shoes of a refugee.
However, a good book on the subject could open your eyes to the suffering of others that you have never experienced first-hand.
With a first-person account and a well-told story it's much easier for you to relate on a personal level to people you may never get the chance to meet in real life, thereby increasing your empathy levels overall.