‘He that loves reading has everything within his reach’ so preaches William Godwin, a famed English novelist and journalist. To understand why he espouses as such, one must know the importance of reading and the different skills one can acquire from turning to books.
‘He that loves reading has everything within his reach’
Ideally, getting into the habit of reading should start from a young age. This is not only a stepping stone to become an engaged learner but also a confident reader, writer and speaker. Here are some great reasons why we should help encourage and instil a lifelong love for learning and reading.
1. Giving our Brains a Chance to Exercise
Reading gives our brains a chance to exercise and re-energize itself. Fiction or non-fiction, passages of texts help us build connections and link ideas, promoting brain activity. For those who read for leisure, the brain is constantly active and alert, even when at a rested state. Through reading, our brain develops logical thinking skills. This is especially so for children – reading helps to strengthen the ability to grasp abstract concepts, practice good judgment, apply logic and reason in different scenarios, and distinguish cause and effect. It is also a sure-fire way to get your mental health in order.
2. Exposure to Different Cultures and Lifestyles
Having a thirst to read would mean exposure to a whole new host of ideas, culture, beliefs and customs. This knowledge and understanding of different lifestyles will help children hold a conversation, and build up confidence when speaking with others who share a different belief set. It will also help spark an interest in children to be inquisitive of things around the world.
3. Increases a Child’s Vocabulary and Fortifies Sentence Structure
Absorbing different genres of books and writing styles means an even greater opportunity to learn new words. Reading also inconspicuously helps to fortify sentence structure and syntax as the child is constantly taking in the different grammar and sentence structures available. An exposure to this will teach them how to use words and language with efficacy, increasing their literacy and grasp of the language. By the time they reach primary school, comprehension exercises will be an easy feat as the process of extracting information becomes almost second nature.
4. Improves Concentration Level
In this digital age, a lot of children have a hard time focusing on one thing for a long period of time. A great way to practice concentration is by ‘zoning in’ on a book. You can have a reading corner where the child has to sit quietly and read the book without any distractions. Some quiet, dedicated reading time will greatly help improve their concentration and focus, as well as grow their learning capabilities, especially when the length and depth of the books get more profound.
5. Develops the Imagination and Boosts Creativity
When we are reading, our brain translates the descriptions we read into pictorial forms. This encourages a more vivid imagination as everyone’s brain translates it differently. Similarly, we start to identify with the character or characters as the book goes on. This helps develop empathy in children as they start to imagine how the characters are feeling and relate with their own experiences to understand the situation better.
6. A Great Form of Entertainment
Before the digital age dawned on us, people looked to books as one of the greatest forms of entertainment. Many were voracious readers and spent much of their free time devouring different types of books. Fathers would come home after a long day of work and the children would look forward to their fathers reading to them at bedtime. Not only does it help strengthen parent-child relationships, it also engages and inspires children to let their mind wander into different worlds. After all, everyone almost always says ‘The book is better’ for the majority of classic stories turned into blockbusters. This is because everyone’s idea of it in their head when they first read it is completely different from another individual’s. That is the beauty of a book. You make your own entertainment.
‘I will defend bedtime reading till my last gasp’ – Who are we to argue?
After all, one of the best writers of our generation, J.K. Rowling, said that, ‘I will defend bedtime reading till my last gasp’ – Who are we to argue?