Exactly what do children get out of reading?
We constantly hear how important it is for children to read books, but have we ever really thought about why that’s true? Exactly what do children get out of reading? Does reading matter?
The answer is yes – it matters!
Reading is an important skill that needs to be developed in children. It is necessary for survival in the world of school, college and university. The ability to learn about new subjects or find helpful information depends on the ability to read. Poor reading is the single most significant contributor to underachievement at school and affects every aspect of a child’s life.
Here are eight reasons why reading is so important for children:
1. Books Help Develop Vital Language Skills
The more children read stories and are read to, the greater their language skills. Reading exposes children to proper grammar and phrasing. It enhances development of spoken language skills and aids a child’s ability to express themselves verbally. Even when a child doesn’t understand a new word, they absorb meaning from the context, which in turn deepens their understanding of it the next time they encounter the word.
2. Reading Expands Vocabulary
A prolific reader’s vocabulary is simply larger. Reading improves a child’s vocabulary and leads to more highly-developed language skills. This increases exponentially the more a child reads, giving them extra words to use in everyday life. This is turn aids their communication skills. People who read a lot tend to be better communicators as they have a more varied range of words to express how they feel and to get their point across.
3. Reading Develops A Child’s Imagination
When we read our brains translate descriptions of people, places and things into pictures. When a child is engaged in a story, they are imagining how characters are feeling. You are only limited by what you can imagine and the worlds described in books, as well as the views and opinions of others will help a child expand their understanding of what is possible. By reading written descriptions, a child’s mind can create an image in their head, instead of having the image placed in front of them on a TV screen.
4. Reading Improves Focus and Concentration
Unlike many other activities children engage in on a daily basis, sitting down with a book takes long periods of focus and concentration. Being fully engaged in a book involves closing off the outside world and being immersed in the text, which over time will strengthen attention span. When reading, children have to sit quietly so they can focus on the story. If they read regularly, they develop the ability to do this for longer periods of time.
So please, inspire your children to read. Give them access to plenty of reading material that they’ll enjoy and discuss it with them. Sample everything – traditional printed books, assigned school reading, classic children’s novels, fairy tales, eBooks; even the Internet. As you help your child you may find there is a world full of wonderful children’s literature that YOU can enjoy too.