Helping our kids learn to read is an important step in ensuring their academic future. Aside from the ability to enhance the language development of your child, reading can provide a host of other benefits that can span other areas of his or her development particularly your kid’s social, emotional, and cognitive abilities. Here are several of the most common benefits of reading for kids.
Why Kids Should Read
Exercises the Brain
Reading involves a variety of complex processes that the brain must integrate as one. Whatever the eyes read is transformed into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain. These signals are then processed and compared with existing pieces of information stored in other parts of the brain.
These different structures have to send their own electrical signals so the brain can process these and make sense of what is being read. Reading is all about integrating a variety of information to create something new. In a way, the more your kid reads, the better are the neural connections in the brain. Not only are neural connections improved, new ones are built, too. This greatly improves other cognitive abilities, laying the foundation for academic success.
Improves Concentration and Focus
Because of the improvement in neural connections and processes in the brain, your child is able to concentrate and focus a lot better. Additionally, reading requires your child to focus on the words that make a sentence and the sentences that make a paragraph. This is needed to help make sense of the things that are written which are then processed and integrated by the brain. They can then apply this focus and concentration on other things or activities so they essentially become good at these as well.
Teaches about the World
Toddlers and preschoolers are very curious about their world. And while they cannot fully read yet, you can help them by reading to them. School-aged children, on the other hand, can benefit from reading, learning more about a particular concept or theory presented in class. Supplemental reading can also teach them about certain other things that schools don’t teach them. They get to travel to places and learn of other people’s cultures and traditions without having to go outside their home. They can experiment with simple things based on what they read. This teaches them many things about the world they live in.
Fosters Imagination and Creativity
When children read stories, they are not simply translating those wordy descriptions into electrical signals. The brain is also translating these into mental images which further improve our understanding of what is being described or presented in the reading material. This provides the framework for imagination and creativity. By stimulating the brain to produce
mental images of the things our kids read, they get the opportunity to enhance their creative and imaginative abilities. When not reading, children can use this power of imagination for other purposes such as during playtime. It is particularly beneficial during make-believe or pretend play activities where imagination comes to the fore.
Kids reading stories tend to imagine how the character of the story feels. They try to explain how they would feel if the same thing happened to them. This is the basis of empathy, of putting oneself in the shoes of another objectively and sans the emotional baggage often associated with sympathy. When kids learn to empathize, they learn to be more objective in their interaction with others. They will understand the pain and suffering someone is going through but without getting emotionally affected by it. For some, this might seem cruel. But the fact is that, if you get emotional, too, then you will not be effective in providing support to someone else simply because you will be overwhelmed by your emotions as well.
Children who are able to read are confident about what they can accomplish. They know that reading can help them become successful in life. This is the very basic premise for improving one’s sense of worth or self-esteem which, in turn, begets greater emotional wellness and social health.
You can be sure when kids start reading, a noticeable improvement of neural connections in the brain occurs and better verbal reasoning. All other benefits emanate from this enhancement in nervous system functioning.