What are the benefits of reading for children?

An entertaining and enjoyable way to educate children is through reading stories and books. It is very important to instill in children the habit of reading, since reading brings innumerable benefits to the development of every person.

Reading helps children develop their imagination and learn about the world around them; it also improves their vocabulary, linguistic richness, memory and concentration, which contributes to greater their mental agility and to increase their culture, benefiting them academically. 

It also allows them to learn to better express their ideas and feelings, generating greater empathy, understanding other people better and being more tolerant.

It is often hard to find a good book for our children, so I recommend asking them what topics they are interested in and then researching the best readings on that particular topic, on websites such as bestbooks, which are dedicated to compiling the best books on various topics and authors.

The discussion about how much or what reading is good for a child is centuries old, and there are many answers. There are those who do not give it any value, and there are others who consider it as the great solution, the panacea; and who even think that those who read will be better people.

The truth is that the benefits of reading are personal because each human being is individual and unrepeatable, and what benefits or harms one in a certain way, will surely have very different effects on another one. Therefore, there are no recipes or written rules.

Even so, trying not to fall into generalizations, we can list many benefits of reading in children.

The importance of reading for your children (young and old).

  1. Through reading they will be able to obtain information, it will make them reflect, develop their memory, their capacity of observation and analysis, and it forces them to pay attention, to concentrate.
  2. With reading, their vocabulary will expand, they will improve their spelling and learn syntactic structures so that their oral and written expression will be enriched, and thus their ability to organize concepts, thoughts, ideas, sensations and feelings, in addition to being able to transmit those feelings more easily.
  3. By reading, they will be forced to follow the course of a story, the succession of ideas, to give them coherence, to locate characters and scenarios, to establish temporal and spatial relationships, with which they will develop, with greater ease, their capacity for logic and mental agility to establish connections.
  4. Thanks to reading, they will come into contact with places, people and customs far away in time or space, which leads to recreation, to fantasy, to experience what other people feel or think, to listen to other voices, to develop criteria, to accept diversity and plurality of opinions, to understand the human condition and to broaden horizons.
  5. Reading will increase their cultural background, it will provide them with information and knowledge, promote their scientific curiosity and awaken new interests and hobbies.
  6. By stimulating their feelings and emotions, reading provokes the development of their artistic sensitivity, aesthetic sense, creativity and the ability to appreciate and enjoy their surroundings.
  7. Reading will also make them enjoy and suffer, will enrich, transform, entertain, relax and amuse them.

It is worth mentioning the role that illustrated children’s literature plays in the development of certain skills. Illustration, besides stimulating fantasy, is an indispensable resource for the aesthetic enjoyment of children’s literature. The image and the word are two expressive functions that reflect and complement each other in the development of both the idiomatic and aesthetic functions. 

The child, when confronted with an illustrated text, develops multiple capacities. First of all, through it, he discovers the relationship between visual language and verbal language, which leads him to make a series of connections. Besides, little by little, imperceptibly, he will learn to look, and those images will get into the receptacle of his/her mind and, alongside the images of the world around him, will enrich his background, giving him elements for enjoyment and for aesthetic appreciation.

However, it must be said that after all these arguments, there will surely be those who are still not convinced of the benefits of reading literature. 

Nowadays, many are inclined to think that what is important in children’s education is learning a second language, keeping up with technological advances such as computers, video games, etc., and having a good level in mathematics. In other words, everything that brings us an immediate benefit, that makes us competitive. It is here when we must insist on the importance of reading.

Many analysts suggest that the cause of the failure of many educational systems lies precisely there, in the existence of professionals, with bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees, who read textbooks out of obligation, but who are not readers; who read badly, without fully understanding and who, despite their high level of schooling, have not acquired the habit and have not discovered the pleasure of reading.

What does this have to do with learning, though? In fact, it has already been said when we mentioned all the skills that reading promotes, but let’s emphasize a little more. In today’s world, full of information, with more and more elaborate tools, it is necessary for people to develop increasingly complex skills to deal with any kind of written information; to perform a deep reading, among many others. 

In the end (and hopefully) it is about understanding, summarizing and, ultimately, building knowledge. Yes, reading is the key towards knowledge in the information society. Without the ability to read, the individual will not be able to use the contents of this information society and use them to construct knowledge that can then be communicated. To educate in reading, books are still necessary, because books are the best machines for reading.

In this way, books are not going to save humanity nor will they give us all the answers, but they are the best tool to build our knowledge.

How can I stimulate my child to acquire the habit of reading?

  1. Educate with examples. It is interesting for children to frequently see adults reading and enjoying reading.
  2. Listen to our children and answer any spontaneous question they may have. In this way we will get them to learn about the written language and the texts we usually use.
  3. From the beginning, reading should be a special activity, full of emotion and play. That is why it is recommended to share these moments with children, so that the pleasure of reading spreads from one to the other.
  4. You should encourage and motivate children to read, but never impose reading as if it was an obligation.
  5. It is advisable to accompany the child in the task of reading, especially at the beginning. Learning to read is not an easy task and reading with them will let us know what they like, what they know and where they find problems.
  6. You will have to be constant. Every day you should set aside time for reading.
  7. You must respect the children’s rhythm and favorite reading moments.
  8. It is very useful to ask for advice in libraries or websites such as bestbooks about what kind of books are more appropriate for each evolutionary moment of the child.
  9. Children’s reading should be stimulated and encouraged by favoring their approach to books (give books as gifts for their birthdays, use library lending services, etc.).
  10. It is advisable to reserve a space in the house as a children’s library as well as a time each day between the activities to be carried out.

As you have seen, the reading in your children is very important, so good parents will instill the habit of reading in their children from an early age.

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