Learning to love reading can open doors and help children succeed in school and in the future. Though we’ve all heard that literacy is essential, it’s okay to question ‘why is reading important in particular?’
The number of people around the world has risen dramatically over the past few decades. In the 1970s, just 67 percent or about seven out of ten people were literate, according to World Bank data. By 2019, that number had risen to 87 percent.
Literacy – the ability to read and write – is vital to success for an individual. It’s also the building block of learning. Without the ability to read, people will not be exposed to new ideas. For those who cannot write, it hinders communication with others.
And it starts with our children. Reading is an activity that parents can engage in with infants and young children. Even before they are able to form words or express ideas of their own, reading to babies and toddlers can cultivate a love of books and learning. It’s one of the key answers to the question of how to raise a reader.
When parents read to young children, kids are entertained, they learn, and they become connected to a wider world. It is also a bonding activity. Children who are read to will connect books to special child-parent time, which instills a love of reading. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of reading, and how you can encourage your child to read.
Benefits of Reading
Why reading is important has to do with learning and growing as a person. Reading has been connected to essential and positive growth, including:
Language development – babies and toddlers learn to speak by listening to the adults around them. Reading to younger children introduces them to new sounds and words.
Imagination – stories can spark creativity and imagination as children connect with different worlds and characters. This is often why you’ll see children act out the stories they love during playtime.
Learning – through books children can go places they may not have an opportunity to visit. They can learn to appreciate the world and different cultures. They can also see how characters solve problems well. All of these experiences from a book help your child gain a deeper understanding of life.
Focus – children are known for being easily distracted. One key to how to raise a reader involves having them sit down and listen to a story. This can improve their focus and ability to concentrate.
Bonding – while connecting with loved ones is not always on the list when looking at why is reading important, it is another benefit. Sitting down and spending time together cultivates a healthy connection with others. This can help your child build relationships in the future.
Social skills – reading often allows us to get close to the characters in the story. This introduces different perspectives and can encourage empathy as children take a journey with those in the book. Reading with your children also requires them to listen. These skills can help children relate better to others in the real world.
How to Encourage Your Child to Read
While we’ve answered the question of why is reading important, it’s time to consider how you can get your child to read. Here are some great ways to encourage reading in kids of all ages.
Read to Them
Spending time with your children and reading to them will cultivate positive feelings in them about books and reading. They will connect reading to the quality time you have spent together. As this feeling becomes deeper ingrained, they may not even think about why they enjoy reading so much.
Talk With Children About Books
Discuss books with your children. Ask them about what they are reading in school or at home. Let them demonstrate their understanding by sharing the story with you. This can take the learning to a deeper level by challenging them to understand what they are reading. It’s also important to talk to them about the types of books that they read. Is there a genre they like the most? What kinds of characters or adventures do they like in a story? The added bonus is that you’ll get to know your kids better and continue developing the bond.
Let Them Pick the Story
No matter how old or young they are, let your child pick the book sometimes. When you go to the library, encourage your child to select some of the books they want to take home. At story time, invite them to select the book. That way you’ll be reading them a story they love and fostering independence by allowing them to decide what they want to hear and to bring the book to you.
Limit Screen Time
Video games, movies, and other screen activities do not hold the same benefits as sitting down and reading a book. It’s important to help children become disciplined with their time by limiting how long they play on devices.
Schedule Reading Time
You can encourage reading by scheduling time every day for your child to engage with a book. This will also demonstrate to kids how important the skill is for their lives. Discuss with your child how they can work in even just 15 minutes of reading into their schedule each day. While it may be a challenge, reading time can still be beneficial if it is one of the last things they do. Have them settle in with a book before bedtime. It will calm and quiet them while enhancing their abilities.
Make Reading Fun
Use voices for different characters, sing, dance, and act out parts of the story to make reading fun. These dramatics can also help younger children follow the story easier.
Hire a Tutor
Some students may need a little more encouragement to develop their reading and literacy skills. Hiring a tutor can be a great way to cultivate a love of reading. At School is Easy, we have a list of qualified tutors that can step in and help your child.
You may not always have a book nearby but there are many other ways to encourage reading in your child. Let them review the menu at a restaurant, read letters together, and look at signs or even packaging on items at the store. Show them why reading is important by pointing out all the places where they’ll be able to use the skill.
Start a Book Club
For older children, being part of a book club with classmates or friends can continue the love of reading. Ask teachers or other parents about starting a book club in your community.
Learning to love reading can take time and extra effort. At School is Easy, we understand that you want your child to develop their literacy skills, but sometimes don’t know how to help. That’s where we can come in. Our tutors cover a variety of topics that touch on reading – such as English. If your student is struggling, contact us to book an English tutor today.