Are you the parent of an avid reader? If so, you’re either doing something right or you’re just plain lucky. Children who create positive and consistent reading habits and read for pleasure are actually improving their brain function, and are more likely to be strong and imaginative critical thinkers.
Children who read for fun have been found to improve not only in English, but in all other subjects. The practice also leads to a stronger lifelong vocabulary, and has been connected to continued educational growth and even socioeconomic status.
Not all kids love to read, though. Some kids just haven’t been introduced to the right genre, or haven’t been given enough choice in their reading quest. Here are six reasons you should encourage your children not only to read, but to read what they are interested in:
1. Reading Makes You A Better Learner
Reading does not only improve, well, your reading skills… it actually makes you a stronger learner. It improves your vocabulary, widens your knowledge on a specific genre or subject, and works on skills such as deductive reasoning, critical thinking, and writing.
When a child is truly absorbed in a book, they are improving their comprehension skills, writing skills, vocabulary, question generation and inference skills, understanding of story structure, and ability to summarize.
Children who are encouraged to read what they want a young age tend to read more, and have better academic growth than other children. Enjoyment in learning is important when it comes to academic success.
2. Reading Makes You More Empathetic
Children get heavily involved in stories they are interested in. They’re breaking down themes, relating to characters, contemplating rights and wrongs, motives, and morals. All of these exercises help young readers become better empathizers and decision makers.
Character investigations are great for personal character development. When you open a book, you enter a world that is different than your own. You learn about other cultures, other world-views, and other points of view.
3. Reading Makes You More Creative
If a child is free to choose their own books, they fully engage themselves in those worlds. It encourages daydreaming, interacting with fictional characters, asking the “What would I do?” questions, and creating stories and characters of your own. Books are catalysts for the best daydreams.
4. Reading Makes You A Healthier Person
Those who enjoy reading are more likely to pick up a book during downtime, and less likely to switch on the television or game console. Studies have also found that reading for pleasure releases tension, slows down heart rates, and has even been reported to be 300% more effective in stress reduction than taking a walk.
5. Reading Makes You More Motivated
Choice and motivation go hand in hand. We talk about this in our post about agency. Children who have the freedom to choose their reading materials are more motivated to both start and finish the book. Their initial interest means that they’re committed to that book. And their love for reading motivates them to finish and move onto another!
6. Reading Makes You More Confident
Finishing a book, especially one you enjoyed and found challenging, increases a sense of confidence and achievement. Including yourself on the journey of the book makes you more self-aware, and improving your vocabulary and worldview increases your self-esteem. Plus, what’s not to feel confident about when academically successful, kind, creative, healthy, and motivated?