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Reading is to the Mind what Exercising is to the Body

19 September 2019

A great deal of importance is placed on reading without asking why the ability to read is so important.  Before we had writing, we still survived and we still learned so what is it that this invention gives us?  Perhaps the answer is obvious but it is still worth thinking about. 

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Children begin life as observers and listeners, learning to imitate and understand what those around us are doing and saying and then we learn to walk, to talk and to communicate at more and more advanced levels.  As we grow, we are tutored in the skills of reading and writing using different vocabularies, different scripts and in different contexts.  We learn this skill to access other areas of learning through books or on-line.  In our modern world, it is a fundamental and basic requirement for every child to learn to read. 

Immersing yourself in a book has the ability to unlock your imagination, transporting you into a world of wonder and unlimited possibilities; this in turn helps to expand your vocabulary, improving memory and focus.  Reading promotes logical thinking along with providing a lifelong, enjoyable hobby. It helps at every age with communication skills from the younger children benefiting from being able to explain themselves to older children having greater confidence in presentations, debates and conversations.  Parents can use reading as a way to build stronger relationships with their children.  Reading a story based on a developmental milestone, a social situation can help ease a child’s stress and encourage children to talk and share feelings with their parents. For instance, if your little one is nervous about starting school, reading a story dealing with this topic shows their anxiety is normal.

An article in The Daily Telegraph, British newspaper highlighted a recent study revealing that children benefit more from their father reading them bedtime stories than their mother. It stated, questions posed by men when reading to children were found to have sparked “imaginative discussions” in the study by Harvard University in the US.’ For the full article click here.

Mark Zukerberg appears to be leading the way after he posted a picture of him reading a baby book about quantum physics to his daughter. This may be a marketing ploy but perhaps it also highlights the alternative approach a father may take to reading with their children.

Reading needs to be part of a child’s daily routine to enhance their speech and academic skills.  At home, parent and child can make a special place for reading using floor cushions, book shelves, or even bed sheets.  Why not try building a reading den in a quiet area? Parents can impart a love of reading by showing enthusiasm and excitement when reading books and making sure that they read too, in front of their children.  Remember, from the moment they are born, children imitate and admire their parents and are more likely to pick up and book and read if it is something they see their parents doing and enjoying.

Within the school, libraries and librarians are an essential part of the learning process. School libraries support the curriculum, promote literacy development, increase children’s confidence and enjoyment of reading, and foster lifelong reading habits through the development of carefully selected print collections. They also promote sophisticated picture books and easy reading fiction as “quick reads” to older children, helping to encourage struggling readers to find books that suit their abilities. 

So, pick up a book and read with your children. Pick up a book and allow your imagination to take you on a journey into another world.