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Reading is Healthy!

By: Dr. Melanie Walker

As a bibliophile and a pediatrician, I try to help instill in children

This Is Why Reading Is So Important for Your Brain | The Healthy

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:

  1.  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.  
  1. It’s a great brain work out – reading is a complex task so it strengthens the brain far more than watching you tube videos!
  1.  It improves concentration – we live in a fast paces, ADHD kind of world.  When reading you have to focus.  And again, practice, makes better.  
  1.  Reading teaches children about the world.  Through books they can experience and learn about  other cultures, place, people and events
  1. Reading increases vocabulary and helps improve writing.  We internalize new words and different writing styles as we read.  
  1.  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.
  1.  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.  
  1. Reading is FUN!  It’s portable, it’s cheap (use the library), and it can be social with you discuss books with others. 
March is Reading Month: 10 tips to keep reading fun - MSU Extension
  1.  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.
  1.  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!  

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