Something we have always known to be true is that avid readers make for well-rounded learners. Reading not only advances literacy skills but introduces new ideas, concepts, and worldviews to children. The more we read, the more we know, after all. And this doesn’t just include independent reading in children. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that reading aloud to children from infancy bolsters literacy skills and language development. Strength in these areas sets children up for academic success from the very beginning. In addition, if children have well-developed vocabularies by kindergarten, they are likely to pick up on reading quickly and easily, which prepares them for elementary school and beyond.
But now, many students are entering kindergarten without the skills necessary to succeed. That’s where we come in – and where parents can come in, as well. Ensuring children are thriving early in their education can guarantee they will succeed consistently in their education.
Here are just a few ways that becoming an avid reader can help all students along their educational journeys.
Reading makes for more intense concentration and focus.
Reading is one of the only activities that require a child’s total attention and increases knowledge as it’s happening. Children have to sit still, focus, and take in the information in each story to understand what is going on. This type of focus allows them to think more deeply about whatever subject the story covers and form their own opinions and conclusions.
Consistency also improves comprehension.
When children begin to think more critically, they become more immersed in a story, which builds their comprehension skills. This skill also starts at a very young age. Many toddlers develop attachments to a particular book and ask to read it again and again. Repetition, naturally, helps with their retention early on. This skill then transfers over as they begin reading independently. When children read often and widely, they are more likely to retain small details, understand the plot and thematic elements, and more. Maintaining information and critical thinking is essential in all subjects, and those abilities begin with reading.
Reading develops vocabulary and language.
Often, the first time we learn of a word is in a book. We may not immediately know what it means – but can usually pick up on the meaning in the story’s context. If we can’t do that, we do the next best thing – as someone around us or look it up. We begin this practice in childhood. Children pick up on language based on conversation and what they hear or read in books. The more they read, the wider their vocabulary becomes. When we have a larger pool of words to choose from, we can express ourselves more precisely. The ability to speak or write concisely and eloquently is crucial in all aspects of education.
Reading builds imaginative empathy.
There are many experiences that we do not collectively have as human beings. Some are very specific to particular groups or individuals. Reading allows us to experience different worldviews and ideas. Reading from another’s perspective, seeing something through their eyes, builds empathy despite not living through it. Empathy is a necessary trait to foster in an educational environment because it allows children to understand themselves and others more deeply. Self-awareness is critical because it helps students advocate for themselves, open their minds to differing viewpoints, and stay motivated in many situations.
And, of course, these skills strengthen confidence and a lifelong respect for storytelling.
It’s a simple formula: 1) The more you expose a child to an activity, the more likely it is to become part of the fabric of their lives. 2) The more they flex a specific muscle, the more confident they become in their abilities. 3) The more confident they are in their abilities, the more enjoyable and freeing an activity becomes. When reading is something to look forward to – whether that’s because it’s an activity you do together, or your child discovers a genre that excites them – it is so easy to love. Exploring worlds, learning words, imagining something beyond what they know can be an incredible experience for people of all ages. This journey starts with one book and can continue for a lifetime.
No matter how, when, or where you do it, reading is a vital part of a child’s early and continued success in school. These areas of learning are essential throughout a child’s education and throughout their lives as individuals.
Check out a few of our recent favorite books for kids! These books are perfect for introducing them to a new genre or invigorating their pre-existing hunger for imaginary worlds.