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Reading is to the Mind what Exercising is to the Body

10 January 2018

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.  

  • Books
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 or a social situation can help ease children’s stress levels and encourage them 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 feelings are normal and nothing to worry about.
An article in a British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, highlighted a study revealing that children benefit more from their father reading them bedtime stories than their mother. It cited a study by Harvard University in the USA that questions posed by men when reading to children were found to have sparked “imaginative discussions”. For the full article click here: (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/children/11895432/Bedtime-stories-its-better-if-dad-reads-them.html). Mark Zukerberg appears to be leading the way after he posted a picture of himself 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 should to be part of a child’s daily routine to enhance their speech and academic development.  At home, parent and child can make a special place, a “reading nest” or “reading den” using floor cushions, book shelves, or even bed sheets. Children love to find a quiet spot and huddle down to immerse themselves in a book. 
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 a book and read if it is something they see their parents doing and enjoying.
At Compass International School Doha, we know that our 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” for 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. If you are looking for inspiration, why not have a look at our selected book list here, set out by age range. Don’t delay, pick up a book today.

Suggested reading for Years 3-6


  • Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell
  • The Story of the Blue Planet by Andri Snaer Magnason
  • Wonder by R.J.Palacio
  • The Factory Made Bob by Christine Nostlinger
  • Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Astrotwins by Mark Kelly
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo


  • My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B.White
  • Mrs Frisby and the rats of NIMH by Robert C.O’Brien
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster


  • Journeys of Invention app by the Science Museum


  • How To Make The Universe with 92 Ingredients by Adrian Dingle
  • Alphabetics: An Aesthetically Awesome Alliterated Alphabet Anthology by Patrick Concepcion
  • The Red Bicycle by Jude Isabella and Simone Shin


Graphic Novel

  • Ares Bringer of War by George O’Connor
  • Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier



  • The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects by Paul Janeczko


Suggested reading for Years 7-9


  • The Lions of Little Rock by Christie Levinel
  • A Long Walk to Water – Linda Sue Park
  • Mockingbird – Kathryn Erskine
  • My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece – Annabel Pitcher
  • Cinder – Marissa Meyer
  • Endgame: The Calling by James Frey
  • Shine by Candy Gourlay
  • Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nichols


  • Antigone by Ali Smith (Save the Story edition)
  • The Outsiders – S E Hinton
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • War Horse by Michael Morpurgo – The Touchpress App edition




  • Animalium by Jenny Broom
  • Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian
  • Fossey and Birute Galdikas
  • Line of Fire: Diary of an Unknown Soldier August September
  • 1914 by Barroux
  • The Boy on the Wooden Box –Leon Leyson


Graphic Novels

  • Boxers and Saints Boxed Set by Gene Luen Yang
  • Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan



  • In the Land of the Giants by George Szirties
  • Wayland by Tony Mitton


Suggested reading for Years 10-13


  • Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • More Than This by Patrick Ness
  • Into that forest by Louis Nowra
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • Nothing by Janne Teller
  • The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne



  • Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Native Son by Richard Wright
  • In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez



  • I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and other Clinical
  • Tales by Oliver Sacks
  • Death from the Skies: The Science Behind the End of the
  • World by Philip Plait PHD
  • The Pig That Wants to be Eaten by Julian Baggani


Graphic Novel

  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • Maus by Art Speigelman




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