Why is reading important and how do I get my child to read?

Why should my child read?

Reading is a skill that is constantly heard about in schools, teachers are forever trying to encourage children to read, to choose challenging books and to develop a ‘love’ of reading. It seems obvious why this is – reading is something you will do every day of your life in one way or another. However, being able to read isn’t the only reason why it is important for children to be lifelong readers.

It will open their eyes to the world. One key reason to encourage your child to read is that reading books regularly will increase their knowledge of the world. As Dr Seuss said, “The more you read, the more you know!” Different books contain different opinions, viewpoints and facts; they expose children to history and the world around them all whilst they’re sitting in the classroom or at home. Reading a range of books will expose your child to a wealth of knowledge to support them. Books will challenge their view of the world and encourage them to look at it differently.

It will improve their language. Reading will also expand a child’s vocabulary. Through books, children are exposed to a whole variety of new words and phrases. Arcadia is devoted to supporting children in developing and improving their language skills. Reading can help children achieve this goal and many more whilst having fun. A rich and varied vocabulary is a key skill many of the future careers children may go into.

It will make them smarter. Being a confident and able reader allows children to access other school subjects at a much higher level. Research shows that children who are able readers early on in school life, tend to be more successful throughout their education career. This is due to the fact that reading exercises use similar parts of the brain that develop memory skills and critical thinking. Success in education leads to greater self confidence and independence, allowing children to problem solve and find solutions.

It will help them to understand others. Outside of education, reading allows children to develop empathy skills and get in touch with their emotions. When a child reads about a character in a book, they feel connected to them, this allows them to put themselves into their shoes and understand how people feel in different situations.


Reading is fun!

The final reason for your child to read is simply because it is fun! When asked, many children who read regularly will state that they enjoy reading. Reading independently allows children to relax, use their imagination and switch off from the day peacefully. Reading as a family is a free and relaxing way to spend quality time together, sharing ideas and discussing events which have happened in the book. With such a huge range of books available today, it is impossible to avoid reading for reasons such as, ‘they don’t like books’ – they simply haven’t found the genre they enjoy!


How to get them reading

Hopefully by now you are convinced that reading is a vital life skill which we should be encouraging our children to develop. Reading will not only help your child in education but also in developing key social skills, and help ensure success in future life. However, if your child is a reluctant reader sometimes it can seem impossible to encourage them to pick up a book. Below are some tips to try to encourage your child to read regularly and possibly even enjoy it.

Be a role model Have books available around the house and choose to read by yourself or as a family when the opportunity arises. If children regularly see their parents reading, it becomes more normal rather than something they feel they have to do as homework.

Make reading a ritual. Have a specific day or time in the weekly calendar where you and your child read. This could be together or independently, depending on preference and stick to it. If it is a pleasant, calm and rewarding experience, children will look forward to this quality time with you.
Don’t force your child to read. Reading shouldn’t be seen as a chore or punishment for children. It should be viewed as a positive and relaxing experience, not something children have to do or that they do as a consequence.

Find what they like. Identify the type of books your child enjoys and encourage them to read these. Some children prefer to read fairy tales, others would rather read a book of facts. For some children a thick book of small writing can seem intimidating, for others this is an exciting challenge. Take time to find out what your child enjoys and make these available to them. A trip to the library and discussions about a range of books could help this.

Limit technology. With the easy availability of ipads, phone and televisions at the moment, children are becoming more difficult to engage in reading. Limiting the time they can access these devices in the evening, will mean children will find other ways (hopefully through reading) to entertain themselves or relax themselves.

Arcadia is devoted to helping our children become life-long learners, we want to support children in becoming adults, who enjoy learning new skills and developing their knowledge of the world. Through reading we hope this aim will be achieved for all of our learners now and in the future.

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