Why Children Must Read
3 good (non-academic) reasons why children must read:
We are passionate about getting children to read. Not just because they need reading skills for school work, but because it’s an invitation to think, dream, explore, adventure and become – and it’s available to everyone. Reading is a fundamental right and a key to the world. Children must read everyday – even if it’s only for 20 minutes at the end of the day. We agree with children’s book author Mem Fox when she says “When children hear the word ‘book,’ I want them to think ‘candy!’”
Here are the facts:
- Books are the best vocabulary teacher in the world.
Books expose children to words they may never hear at home or on their screens. They also provide examples of grammar we don’t find in our usual spoken language. Educators say children need to learn around eight new words every day to fill the 3000 new words needed a week, so we can see how conversations and reading are vital.
When my kids were little, a favourite word in our household was ‘woe’ – my kids learnt it from Julia Donaldson’s The Rhyming Rabbit. Thanks to the book, my 8 year old once made my day by saying saying: “Oh woe, I have to do my homework!”
- Books are entertaining
A good book transports a child to another world, makes them laugh, inspires their imagination, peaks their curiosity, makes them think or just makes them feel seen and understood. Books are not only entertaining, they are also affirming. When a child finds themselves in a character or a story line it can be the connection and affirmation they have longed for. Reading builds identity.
- Books don’t give you sensory overload
A growing body of evidence documents negative effects from too much screen time—particularly in young children. In addition to delays in speech and language development, too much screen time can result in disruptive sleep patterns and mood swings. Screen time can also have negative impacts on the visual and vestibular systems. Some studies point to long-term emotional problems and anxiety resulting from constant sensory overload. Books can help to counteract all of these negative side effects of spending too much time in front of a digital screen. So put the screens away and play with books!
“Not surprisingly, the National Reading Panel found the best readers read the most, and the worst readers read the least.”
For tips on getting children to read more, try these blogs.