Why Is Reading Important For Kids?
You know you should encourage your child to read…
…But why is reading important for kids?
We see it everywhere as parents: Encourage your kids to read. Read to your kids at bedtime. Kids should read a minimum of 20 minutes a day. But have you ever asked yourself, “Why is reading important for kids? After all, don’t they learn enough at school?”
Read on to find out the top 10 reasons why reading is so important and how it can benefit your child (and you!).
When we take time out of our busy schedules to sit down and read to our children (even as babies!), we are giving them our undivided attention. This subconsciously tells our children that they are important enough to receive our attention and that we will always try to make time for them.
Plus, what parent doesn’t love a bit of “cuddle time” at the end of the day?
2. Better Vocabulary
Children are like sponges. When kids are regularly exposed to new words—and their reader explains what those words mean—it opens up their mind to a whole new vocabulary.
Even if the book is familiar to them, it helps strengthen that foundation and reinforce words and their meanings. You can even expand on the book by talking about the pictures and introducing new words.
3. Better Reading Skills
They say “practice makes perfect”…and reading is no different!
When kids are first learning to read, familiarity is often the easiest way to learn. Have your child recite a familiar book back to you and point to each word as they do. This can help them recognize “sight words” (a crucial skill in Kindergarten!) and spelling.
Seeing the adult read through unfamiliar letter combinations (th, sh, ch) helps them to sound them out later on.
4. Reduced Screen Time
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with screen time (you need a break sometimes!), most children get far too much of it. Any time you can pry them away from their iPads and smartphones is a win!
If this is too big of an ask for your kids (or you!), consider replacing those screens with books at least one hour before bedtime. Studies show that blue light (the light emitted from electronic screens) lowers natural melatonin and makes it more difficult to fall asleep, and sleep soundly. Though you can consider blue light glasses for kids if screen time is inevitable.
5. Better Safety
“What? How is that?”
Think about it: warning signs are all around us, and they often depend on you being able to read!
If your child can read, they’ll be aware of those alligator signs near a lake, or the ever helpful stop sign at the end of the block when they’re riding their bike. These are essential to the safety of everyday life and as adults, we tend to take these things for granted.
6. Open Minds
Children have limited experience and thus rely on what’s around them to form an understanding of the world.
If only there was a way to expose them to the beauty of different cultures. Wait…there is! Through books!
Rather than solely relying on stories about other cultures, seek books written by members of that culture. Instead of the perspective of an outsider, children will receive knowledge firsthand from someone who was raised in the culture.
7. Develop Empathy
The characters in books help reflect many different types of emotions. Since books typically have problems and resolutions, your child will see happiness, sadness, anger, and resolutions all within a few pages.
Furthermore, taking the time to talk about why a character in the story feels that way helps to build empathy in their everyday lives. They will learn to question how other people feel and how to help resolve their problems.
8. Improved Writing Skills
When your child learns spelling, proper grammar, and vocabulary, they will naturally be better writers. Without having to constantly look up how to spell words or have grammatical corrections, the thoughts will flow more freely. This could also lead to better grades in school.
9. Improved Imagination
When you read books (especially ones without pictures), the imagination is given free reign. That’s why you hear people say things like, “They’re casting him in the movie version of my favorite book?! That’s not how I pictured him!”
A good book will have descriptions of settings and characters, but it’s up to our brains to create them. Your kid will be reminded that, in a book, anything is possible (no CGI needed)!
10. Better Concentration
Reading is fun, but it requires a level of listening and concentration that doesn’t always come naturally to children.
However, the ability to sit still and listen is an integral part of school, so it’s important for them to strengthen these skills. When we adopt a habit of reading to our children, they develop the concentration and patience necessary to be successful in school and home life.
Reading to our kids is not something to do with them without purpose. There are so many benefits to reading, from bonding with them to helping them to succeed in their adult lives.
We know that life gets busy and it may not be something you have time to do every single day, but even a few times a week is sufficient.
If you have questions about your child’s reading ability or whether they are on an acceptable reading level, give us a call. We are more than happy to help you book an appointment to discuss your child’s development.
Kid Care Pediatrics
Kid Care Pediatrics has been in existence since October 2001. It was established by Omar A. Gomez, M.D. The practice philosophy at Kid Care Pediatrics is to provide quality pediatric medical care for children in a professional yet caring manner.