It is commonly found that as children get older, their positive attitudes toward reading and their frequency of reading decline. This is concerning, as reading continues to offer many important benefits throughout the lifespan!
Read on to learn about the benefits of reading for children, and how parents can promote a love for reading at home.
What are the benefits of reading for kids?
Why should you motivate your child to read? Perhaps the most obvious benefit of reading is the development of language and literacy skills. A recent study from the Ohio State University found that young children whose parents read to them regularly enter kindergarten having heard a whopping 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to! Kids who hear more vocabulary words will be better prepared to read these words when they enter school, and are likely to pick up literacy skills more quickly and easily. Additionally, research from 2011 combined 99 studieson reading and found that frequent readers are more successful students overall – out-of-school reading facilitates academic achievement all the way up to the university/college years! Wow!
|But the benefits of reading go far beyond school success. Research from Dalhousie University found that in addition to academic achievement, reading for pleasure positively influencessocial engagement and personal development. This is because reading can be used for everyday information seeking – when older children and adolescents read for pleasure, they gain insight into healthy relationships, personal values, and cultural identity, among many other important topics that help older readers transition into adolescence and eventual adulthood. Moreover, researchers at the University of Liverpool found that for those struggling with depression, significant improvements in their mental health occured following a 12-month reading group. In particular, the reading group helped individuals with their social well-being – feeling confident and connected to others; their mental well-being – concentrating on and feeling interested in learning; and their emotional/psychological well-being.|
Ways to promote reading
It’s probably clear to you by now that reading will enhance your child’s learning and development in countless ways. But, for reading to have these positive effects, children must enjoy reading! Simply pushing your child to read is not enough. So, how can you raise children that love to read?
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh interviewed adolescents about their personal reasons for reading vs. not reading. They reported that reading books often helped them relax and learn, and was exciting, but they found it challenging to read due to lack of time, lack of encouragement, and it being expensive. Based on these findings, it’s clear that time, space, and initiatives to read for pleasure are very important.
Remember: reading should be fun!