“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go” – Dr Seuss. Reading is a basic life skill. It not only gives us the ability to function properly but also enriches our lives in a multitude of ways. As we find ourselves in the midst of a strange and unprecedented time, the importance of reading, especially for children, is more pronounced.
- Helps cognitive development:
Reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. As children read more, these networks get strengthened which forms the basis of intellectual ability and makes children better problem-solvers. It also instills a lifelong love of learning, setting off an impressive chain reaction: better academic performance, better job prospects and a successful life.
- Increases Empathy:
When children read stories, they develop the ability to understand the beliefs and feelings of others. The more they know about emotions and feelings of the characters they read about, the more empathy they develop.
- Positive self-image:
They are also able to see reflections of those feelings within themselves, leading to a stronger sense of self. Research has shown that better readers have higher self-confidence.
- Improves social skills:
Through showcasing interpersonal interactions between characters, books give examples of how different people behave; effectively and ineffectively; in different situations. Coupled with enhanced empathy and an increase in vocabulary, reading is a powerful tool to develop strong social skills.
- Improves imagination and creativity:
When a child reads, they visualize the words on the page and create images in their minds, using their imagination. Their minds are constantly whirring trying to figure out what happens next. This strengthens their ability to be creative, and apply these skills in real life situations
- Increases vocabulary:
As children read, they get exposure to more words and more content. A better vocabulary is linked not only to higher achievement, but more importantly helps children regulate their behavior. They are better able to draw from a larger treasure-chest of words and express themselves more effectively.
- Improves communication and writing skills:
Reading shows children different ways of using words. They can see how authors have used sentence structures and grammar. This helps them with their own writing, and communication skills.
- Improves Memory:
To understand a story, a child needs to remember details of the characters, locations and what happened before. Making these connections helps them build a stronger memory.
- Aids discovery of different places and times:
Through reading, children learn about different parts of the world and about history. Much of this information is beyond their personal experience, and this helps open up and widen their minds. It exposes them to realities different to their own, and is undoubtedly and excellent form of educating about diversity.
The most important of all, reading is Fun! Books make you laugh, cry, learn, speak, listen and understand.
As JK Rowling says “I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”