How Reading Helps Children

benefits of reading

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.

Brain Benefits

the brain

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.

Learning Benefits

How reading helps children with learning

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.

Social Benefits

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.

Family Benefits

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.

Also, if you interested in more reading help at home tips, sign up for my newsletter below.

If you do, I’ll send you more great tips for helping your child learn how to read along with free resources, as well.

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Author: Chris Meche

I'm a teacher that wants to help parents teach their children to read. I believe early reading is a powerful indicator of later success. I want to put the skills and resources of teaching children to read in the hands of parents.

12 thoughts on “How Reading Helps Children”

  1. Really enjoyed visiting your Post on how reading helps Children. I agree with you that being able to read at an early age can stimulate your child’s mind.
    I have a 6 Year Old Boy and I’m going to do what you suggest and start reading storybooks to him.
    How many times a week should do this at first and how many times a week after that should I read to my son to keep him interested?
    Thanks, Jeff.

    1. Honestly, you should read to your child daily. Start off with about 15-20 minutes daily for his age. In a year, increase the time to 30 minutes. As your son begins to read on his own, continue to read to him, but make the time half and half. Read to him half of the time and listen to him read for the other half.

      You shouldn’t completely stop reading to your son just because he’s starting to read on his own. He’s still learning to read and needs to hear reading being modeled. As his parent, you’re the best person to model reading for your son. He needs to see you reading, and reading to him is the best way to do this.

      At the same time, he needs to see that you’re interested in his reding. This will encourage him to want to read more. Plus, it’s quality time spent with him.

      Thaks for the comment.

    1. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for taking an interest in your grandson’s reading. It’s vital that your grandson see how important reading is from as many sources as possible. And, as his grandparent, you have a vital role in his life. By encouraging your grandson to read, you’ll be supporting his mother’s efforts and making a powerful connection with your grandson, as well.

      Honestly, I think some people underestimate the value of a grandparent in a child’s life. I know that I am who I am today, in part, because of the lessons I learned from my grandparents. And as a grandparent, you have a unique opportunity to instill within your grandson the importance of reading.

  2. Thank you for this very informative article about how reading helps children, I was having a discussion with a coworker last week about how important it is to read to your children. He is the father of a 3 year old and didn’t feel there were any perks to reading to a child at such a young age. Now I can show him this article with all of the benefits you’ve listed and perhaps change his mind.

    1. There are so many perks to reading to your child. To me, the greatest is the time I get to spend with my children. In the midst of a hectic schedule, those moments are precious. My daughters are now teenagers, but we still bond over the books we are currently reading. Often, we end up swapping books with each other. It helps to expand our library.

      I know that each moment I spend with my daughters in reading is precious. I also know that it is preparing them for more success down the road. Ultimately, we’re all better for it.

      Honestly, it doesn’t take much effort. 20-30 minutes a day. Even in the midst of sports, dance, and socializing, I can spend 30 minutes a day on reading with my children. I make the time because they’re worth it.

  3. I did not know that reading helps with self confidence. My little cousin is always shy and can’t even play with his friends. When I will go to my aunt’s home, I will definitely suggest he read more.

    1. Yes, reading can help with self-confidence because it’s learning a skill. When you learn a new skill, you feel pride in yourself. This provides you with a boost to your self-confidence.

      It helps to encourage the child, too. This will further boost their confidence. The more you support them and cheer them on, the more confident they feel.

      You can start with small wins like celebrating getting a word right. Then, build to getting a whole sentence right. Finally, celebrate when they read a whole paragraph. By doing this, you’re building the child’s confidence in their reading skill. This, in turn, will build the child’s confidence overall. I’ve used this strategy with struggling readers in my classroom. I’ve also used it with my own children, as well. I’ve seen great results with their confidence levels. Reading problems have been connected to self-esteem issues. Strengthening one strengthens the other.

  4. What a great article! This is definitely encouraging me to sit down and spend more time reading with my kids. My three year old looooves reading with us, and my one year old is just starting to take an interest in books and pointing at pictures. It is so cool to see their little brains working! When do you think a child is old enough to sit and listen to longer non-picture books? Would my three year old lose interest? I have thought about investing in some longer type stories, but I’m not sure if she’d be ready yet.

    Thanks!

    1. That’s so great! I love to hear about children being interested in reading. Personally, I’d hold off on non-picture books just yet for your three year old. Instead, I would buy longer picture books. To me, it’s a great bridge step.

      Chapter books are usually introduced when kids start reading on their own. Also, pictures in picture books help keep their interest. Attention spans are short at that age (sometimes, it’s short even at my age!). They also help make mental connections. Our brains work off of these connections. The more connections that are made while reading, deeper is the learning that takes place.

      I’m glad that you mentioned what kind of books to read to three year olds because I’m currently working on my Top 10 List right now and should post it soon. Thanks for your compliment and your comments.

  5. I’m super glad you’re covering such an important topic. I for one know how beneficial it is for kids to learn to read. My son is 7 and absolutely LOVES reading things. Everywhere we go he will look on the walls and read aloud what it says, like he’s proud he can read and not afraid to show it. This also helps him with his writing which is another great bonus. Great job on the article, keep it up.

    1. That’s awesome! Believe it or not, your son’s reading things he sees as he goes about his normal activities strengthens his reading skills. It puts reading into context.

      When you encourage this, your son will see that reading is used in everyday activities. It will also teach him that reading can help him in his everyday life.

      Yes, reading and writing go hand in hand. Thanks for the comment and for sharing about your son.

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