Kids who read often and widely get better at it. This is pretty much just common sense. After all, practice makes perfect in almost everything we humans do and reading is no different.
2. Reading exercises our brains. Reading is a much more complex task for the human brain than, say, watching TV is. Reading strengthens brain connections and actually builds new connections.
3. Reading improves concentration. Again, this is a bit of a no-brainer. Children have to sit still and quietly so they can focus on the story when they’re reading. If they read regularly as they grow up, they develop the ability to do this for longer and longer periods.
4. Reading teaches children about the world around them. Through reading, they learn about people, places and events outside their own experience. They are exposed to ways of life, ideas and beliefs about the world which may be different from those which surround them. This learning is important for its own sake however it also builds a store of background knowledge which helps younger children learn to read confidently and well.
5. Reading improves a child’s vocabulary, leads to more highly-developed language skills and improves the child's ability to write well. This is because children learn new words as they read but also because they unconsciously absorb information as they read about things like how to structure sentences and how to use words and language effectively.
6. Reading develops a child’s imagination. This is because when we read our brains translate the descriptions we read of people, places and things into pictures. When we’re engaged in a story, we’re also imagining how the characters are feeling. We use our own experiences to imagine how we would feel in the same situation.
7. Reading helps kids develop empathy. This is something I’ve only recently realised but it makes sense. As my fifteen-year-old son said to me when we were discussing it, ‘Of course it does because you’re identifying...
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