What Are the Benefits of Reading, and Why Is It Important to Your Child?

Everyone says reading is important. Libraries, schools and teachers stress reading as part of classroom education for kids. It’s better for kids to read books than watch television or play video games. But why should you encourage it? Here are some of the benefits of reading, and why it is important to your child.

It encourages language learning

Reading is one of the best ways to learn a language. Children learn by exposure, and when they see proper grammar, punctuation, and word usage in stories and other written forms, they learn without trying to learn. They don’t necessarily have to study the rules of grammar if they have seen enough examples in books they love.

It increases vocabulary skills

How many times have you read a word in a book and gone to look it up in a dictionary? If you’re like many people, probably not too many times. Instead, you likely understood the meaning of the word based on the context it was in.

Kids do the same thing. And because their brains are in a state of enormous growth and development, they are more likely to absorb what they read and understand it intuitively, without needing things explained to them.

Summer reading programs for kids aren’t just fluff, either. John Hopkins University researchers discovered that the difference in learning between kids of various socio-economic classes wasn’t very great during the school year. But during the summer, disadvantaged youth did not read as much, and they experienced greater “summer slide,” a loss of knowledge and skills over the break.

Having access to books, and reading, helped to narrow that gap, so that the chances of poorer children falling more and more behind as they got older decreased. Libraries are a great leveling tool; everyone can access plenty of books and reading material, free of charge.

It helps you earn money

A 2003 study of adult literacy done by the National Center for Education Statistics, found that adults with low levels of literacy were three times more likely to be below the poverty level than adults who could read well. Think about it: if you can’t read English fluently, you will have trouble with job applications, memos, instruction booklets, tax forms, and all sorts of things you will encounter in your adult life.

Getting kids interested in reading from an early age sets the stage for greater achievement and learning for decades to come. It is not an exaggeration to say that reading as a child can change the course of a child’s life and affect their learning and earning potential.

If you have a young one, start by reading stories to them. If you child is older, find material they enjoy, no matter what the subject matter. The explosion of graphic novels on the market today means that there are books that will capture any kid’s attention and get them reading. These are only a few of the benefits of reading, but it’s clear that reading is important to your child’s future success in life. Help your child get a good start by encouraging them to read.