Health / 18 Dec 2015 / by James
Why Your Kids Should Read More
We all know that reading a wide range of texts is great for our kids, developing reading skills and assisting in learning. But how and why does reading benefit young minds?
Firstly, children who read a lot get better at it. The more they read the more words they learn and the easier it becomes, like any other learned ability. It also exercises the brain, strengthening and creating new brain connections. Reading takes more brain effort than activities such as watching television and thus improves concentration levels. Children who read for even half an hour a day will have to sit and focus on the content of a book in order to fully understand the story. Reading regularly develops their ability to concentrate for longer – and we all know we’d like them to sit still for longer!
Stories expose children to the world in a different way and teach them about the diversity of people, occupations and countries. They develop a stronger understanding of beliefs and places that are different to their own and contribute to their general knowledge with every new book they read. This knowledge then helps with the comprehension of books to come, creating a knowledge bank that gradually builds up.
In terms of learning, extended reading assists in vocabulary and better developed language skills. Every book will contain words they don’t yet know, as well as grammar and structures they will subconsciously absorb throughout each book. Any kind of reading, from cereal packets to magazines, will develop children’s imaginations. With each sentence, the brain automatically allocates imagery to each description and this is developed when a child is fully engaged with a book. The brain doesn’t just imagine scenes; characters evoke emotions amongst readers who will then use their own experiences to imagine how they would feel in the described situation. Reading also helps kids develop empathy, as they relate to and identify with characters.
All this reading has just got to improve concentration and learning levels at school right? Of course! Kids who read widely do better at school throughout every subject, not just English or History. Must be all those new brain connections they are making...
Even though reading requires quite a bit of brain activity and concentration, it’s a great way to keep kids busy and calm. Getting involved in a good story is almost like meditating; kids sit in silence for long periods of time and allow themselves a moment to think of something else other than school or home. It’s a great way for them to relax and the pages of a book are much less stressful on the eyes than the constant flashing of a television screen.
So get your kids reading, even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day and you’ll see improvements in concentration levels, school marks and even temperament.