Why is reading important?

by Christina Stephen

Why is reading important?

Reading is very valuable as it really benefits a child’s development. Teachers and parents can nurture a great love of reading in children and encourage them to regularly reach for a book, as this will ensure that reading becomes an important part of the child’s daily life.

Children usually enjoy books from a very early age and the first skills you will be able to teach them is how to hold the book and turn the pages. By following the words with your finger as you say them, your child will soon learn that the words flow from left to right. If you discuss each illustration in turn with your child, they will soon appreciate that the saying ‘every picture is a thousand words’, is absolutely true! Talking about each picture is the perfect way to develop vocabulary about colours, sizes, people, the weather, and numbers – plus much, much more!

Sharing a book with your child can be great fun for both of you and is the perfect way to relax together or enjoy a rainy day and of course, it is the ideal pastime to lower the tempo and prepare your child to sleep. Frequently reading to your child can make such a difference to their literary skills and really encourages them to be observant and to ‘get involved with the world’ around them and to appreciate many different elements of it. Reading encourages children to be curious and to learn about nature, building sites, shops, houses, and a million other things! In toddlers, reading promotes the eternal question ‘why’ as at this stage, they absorb knowledge like a sponge!

Reading with children from an early age ensures that reading becomes the cornerstone in their lives for learning and they will soon appreciate that being able to read, helps them access numerous sources of information – not just now, but throughout their lives. Reading helps cognitive development in children which is important as it helps them to gain a good understanding of the world in which we live.

When you read a story with your child, try and use plenty of expressions as this will help your child to learn about emotions, and develop empathy. Try and make the characters ‘come to life’ as your child will learn how to empathise with characters in difficult situations and in turn, this will ensure that socially, your child develops well.

Reading certainly opens the door to our big beautiful world and through books, children learn about nature, different countries, nationalities, customs, and cultures, which of course, is invaluable.

For the best quality time together – share a book! Reading helps parents and children to bond. Time spent together gives your child confidence and reassurance and they will definitely love all your attention! Don’t worry if your child can’t follow all the words, this is something that will develop in time, and pointing to the words as you read them, will definitely give them a greater skill and advantage for when they learn to read.

There have been many surveys conducted about the value of reading to small children and all have come to the same conclusion – developing a love of reading in a child is really beneficial and can help them to achieve well academically. This is because reading helps stimulate the part of the brain that processes the spoken word and as your child learns new words and phrases, they will use them like building blocks to develop their conversational abilities. Reading is the perfect way to teach children to sit still and also helps develop their attention span – this will prove invaluable when they do start school.

Best of all, reading a book together will boost your child’s imagination and help them to visualise characters and situations and this in turn will develop their own creativity – often with amazing results.

Make sharing a book with your child several times a day a top priority because the more a child reads books, the better they become at reading and what a valuable gift you will have given them…..



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