Benefits of reading
It is thought that the world’s first chapter book was written in the 11th century by a Japanese woman. Nearly 2,000 years later, people across the world are still engrossed by novels and reading. But why? What exactly do we get from reading books? Is it just sheer pleasure, or are there more benefits than just enjoyment?
Reading, and being exposed to the language that we get from books, has numerous benefits. Amongst these are strengthening your brain; increasing your ability to empathise with others; building your vocabulary; preventing cognitive decline as you become older; reducing stress; preparing you for a good night’s sleep; and even reduction in heart rate and blood pressure. With so many mental and physical health benefits, making sure that we make time for just 20 minutes reading in the day is surely worth it.
As teachers, we are often asked, ‘What should I read?’ or ‘What should my child be reading?’ The short answer is: anything! From cooking books to shopping lists, magazines to road signs, encouraging our children to want to read is one of the most important things we can do.
As we draw closer to the Summer Holidays, we must remember that we as adults are role models for reading. Through modelling a love of reading and sharing stories together, we have the power to develop a positive reading mindset in our children; and in turn, we also benefit from the pleasure of sitting down with our children and just sharing a good book.
“Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body.’ - Sir Richard Steele
Ms Kirstine Sargent, Year 5 teacher and English Leader