By: Dr. Melanie Walker
As a bibliophile and a pediatrician, I try to help instill in children
the love of reading. I ask about parents reading to children at every check-up and encourage them to do it even when children grow older. I ask about what kids are reading and give suggestions for their age groups. I love to read books they tell me about that I haven’t read.
I found a wonderful list of benefits of reading for children on a website the Cam Everlands Primary school in the UK, so I thought I would paraphrase it here:
- Practice makes better, so the more a child reads, the better they get at it. Many schools here require a certain number of minutes of reading per day. And sometimes I encourage parents to require a certain amount of reading to balance out screen time.
- It’s a great brain work out – reading is a complex task so it strengthens the brain far more than watching you tube videos!
- It improves concentration – we live in a fast paces, ADHD kind of world. When reading you have to focus. And again, practice, makes better.
- Reading teaches children about the world. Through books they can experience and learn about other cultures, place, people and events
- Reading increases vocabulary and helps improve writing. We internalize new words and different writing styles as we read.
- Reading helps develop imagination. While we read, we imagine the people and places about which we read. You will often hear children “playing” character they hear about in stories.
- Reading can help develop empathy. When you read about different characters in different settings, you can put yourselves in their places and feel how the feel. We could all use a little more of that in the world.
- Reading is FUN! It’s portable, it’s cheap (use the library), and it can be social with you discuss books with others.
- Reading is a good way to bond. Reading to children at night is a nice way to end the day. Going to the library or attending story hours can be a fun way to spend time together. Or if even reading separate books together, we can avoid being alone.
- Readers to better in school. Children who read often achieve better in all aspects of curriculum
It’s hard to deny that those are skills we want in our children – so pick up a book and lead by example!