I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a student say, “I hate reading.” No matter how many times I hear, my response is two-pronged. I first think, “What can I do to help this student do to help this student?” Then, I think, “How sad?” It’s sad because this student doesn’t understand how reading helps children. This student doesn’t realize how he or she is missing out on so much. Reading provides so many benefits to children. So, this is what I share with them.
The brain is an intricate tool. It does so much, and it’s so intricate.
There’s around 100 billion brain cells in your brain. Each of those brain cells makes tens of thousands of connections to other cells. All of those cells work to make you who you are.
Only when your brain is operating at peak performance are you the best version of you possible. Reading helps your brain in so many ways:
- Stimulation- Those cells and connections get strengthened when you read.
- Improved Concentration- Reading requires your use of different parts of your brain. These areas have to work together to not only read the words on the page, but to comprehend what you’ve read.
- Longer attention span- Because you have to focus, reading strengthens your attention span. This will help you focus in other areas of your life.
- Better oral communication skills- Reading has been proven to enhance language skills. As students read, they see and hear how words work together. They come in contact with great models of how language is used. Children learn through mimicking what they see and hear. The classic example is a mother telling her baby to say “Mama” over and over until one day the baby repeats it. So, it makes sense that children will learn proper language usage through reading.
- Better writing skills Good readers are good writers, and vice versa. The two go hand in hand. Just as reading helps oral communication, it also helps with written communication.
With all of this increased brain activity, it makes sense that a child that reads more will experience increased learning potential. In addition to increased brain power, reading opens up doors of possibilities.
- Increased knowledge- Think about it. Books contain so much information, and the catalog of books is enormous. There’s so much information out there just waiting to be gained. This is true of nonfiction, but it also holds true for fiction, as well. Some of the greatest life lessons I’ve learned have been from a novel.
- Listening skills- When your read to your child, they are learning how to listen. Listening skills will pay off over time. It will help them in school, on the job, and even in their relationships.
- Better performance in schools- Studies have shown that children that read more do better in school. They grasp the material quicker. They can keep up with the workload. Overall, they just perform better.
- Lifelong success- Success in school sets children up for success in life. They establish successful habits. They sharpen skills that will help them outside of school.
As you can see, reading helps children learn more. This, in turn, provides a secondary benefit.
All of this learning makes your child a better person. It allows them to respond better socially in several ways.
- Self- confidence- Because your child has become accomplished in reading, he or she then has the self-confidence to be successful in other areas, as well. This will propel your child forward in whatever they set their mind to do.
- Connecting to the world around them- Our universe is massive. There is no way to experience all of it in one lifetime, but I can experience it through reading. I always tell my students that they may not have been to Spain in real life, but they can through reading.
- Cultural awareness- When students read diverse materials, they are introduced to cultures that are different from their own. They learn that differences are not bad. Instead, they are something to be celebrated.
- Relating to others- When reading a story that’s filled with emotions, children learn how to respond to those emotions. They can see how the characters handle all of those emotions. They can learn through both good and bad examples within what they read.
These social benefits will be felt at home, as well. There are a few examples of how reading helps children within the family dynamic.
- Spending time with your children- When your children are little, reading to them gives you something to do with your children. After you’ve done it a couple of times, your children will come to expect it. It then becomes a ritual that you and your children will enjoy for years to come. Even after they are reading on their own, you can still use reading as a means of spending time with your children. I remember when my youngest daughter became fascinated with Harry Potter. Even though I’ve read it many times, I went back and read it with her. It’s now one of our shared memories.
- It gives you something to talk about- You can ask your children what they are reading. This gives them an opportunity to brag about themselves. It’s another confidence booster. It also allows you to interact with them.
- It gives them something to do- Have your kids ever said that they are bored and have nothing to do? Having a book nearby is an easy solution to that problem. It can also keep them quiet on a road trip, by the way.
How Reading Helps Children- It Adds Up
Reading helps children in so many ways. Each benefit creates opportunities for other benefits.
In the end, it adds up to a well-rounded, confident child with skills that help him or her take on the world.
So, help your child. Encourage him or her to read more.
Even better, participate in reading with him or her.
With all of these examples of how reading helps children, it’s important that you teach your child to read at home. Your child will be better for it, and so will you.
I hope that this post was of help. I’d love to hear from you. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below, and I will get back with you as soon as possible.
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