THE IMPORTANCE OF READING

Why is reading important? Do we really need to be able to read? I say yes. An undeniable, emphatic yes. The importance of Reading can’t be understated. We need it in so many day to day things, like reading ingredients, medicine bottles, street signs, etc. I don’t believe that you HAVE to be completely fluent, and definitely not at a college level to be able to function in life, but you need to be able to read. It is exciting to me to see that literacy rates globally are on the rise. And it is wonderful to see that the gap between male and female literacy is getting smaller.

It is exciting to me to see that literacy rates globally are on the rise. And it is wonderful to see that the gap between male and female literacy is getting smaller.

I LOVE READING

For me, books are what make life exciting. I love to read. If I have any free time (what is that??) I spend it reading.

Reading regularly with my girls, not only at bedtime, is a privilege.

Discovering new authors and delving into biographies, fantasy, adventure, criminal and legal drama is a joy……I am open to pretty much anything except horror. Still not a big fan of that. I have no problems sitting down and reading books designed for 8-10 year olds, or YA fiction. There is always a book or my kindle in my handbag because you never know when you might just have time to read (for example: the aisles of Walmart while your girls just look at the toys). My favourite spot in the bookstore is the children’s section. If I were Belle, I would have married the Beast just for his library. I jest – just a little.

Importance of Reading

READING AND LEARNING

As I mentioned in the video, one of the great things about reading is that it’s a way to learn spelling, vocabulary and sentence structure in a fun way. The more we read the more we learn and the more fluent we become. As a teacher, I like to keep spelling and vocabulary as part of what we are reading. I personally do not like separate spelling and vocabulary lists. Why should they be separate?

Let us learn from the book we are reading. Let’s not put spelling and vocab in isolation.

(I do also believe that we learn spelling best from writing, writing, writing, but this is a piece on reading, not writing – though they do go hand-in-hand.)


IMAGINATION AND CREATIVITY

Reading is important because it opens up the imagination, opens up avenues of creativity. We get to imagine what we are reading. What do the characters really look like? What do they sound like? I don’t know about you, but I am often disappointed at movie portrayals because I often feel like it doesn’t match what I see in my mind’s eye. I remember having a discussion with a friend about a particular book series that was being made into movies. We were talking about the main male character and it was fascinating to see how we had both viewed him, each from our culture and upbringing, and how very different he was in our minds. 

Importance of Reading, Imagination and Creativity
The World of Imagination and Creativity Through Reading

It is through reading that our children can be totally imaginative in play. The written word sparks something in young children’s minds and they act it out and go beyond, all because of what they have been reading (and by this I mean what is being read to them). My girls do this often. I overhear them with their toys reenacting the favourite books of the moment, and then taking it further and just letting their toys’ stories unfold from the minds of two little four-year-olds. This has led to writing songs about their characters and toys.


GATEWAY TO THE WORLD

Reading allows us to explore the world and opens up a whole new world (cue Aladdin and Jasmine singing…) We can learn about cultures, languages, and the people of different countries without having to go (though that is fun).  We experience different genres and especially the worlds that genres like science fiction and fantasy create. Reading also opens our world – opportunities to grow and develop. Let’s not forget history. When we can read, and can decipher the meaning and intent, we can learn about what has happened in the past. We should not let others now come in and sensitize information, trying to block out some of the darker past.

Gateway to the world

READING HELPS WITH LEARNING ABOUT FEELINGS

I briefly touch on this in the video, but books can be a powerful tool in helping children learn about their emotions and feelings. This is especially great for younger children. As they learn about sad, angry, afraid, etc., there are many great books that will help your child explore what they are feeling. Anxious about moving to a new city? There is a book for that. You are not sure about Mommy having another baby? Ditto. You are dealing with a bully, or a loss, or a great joy. Books, books, books. I am so thankful for these authors that have found a way to teach this through beautiful picture books because often as adults we struggle to best help in the situation, but children can connect and relate to the character in the book, recognizing the feelings or situation and relating it to themselves.

This is called teaching emotional literacy. Emotional literacy is defined by the ability to not only understand your feelings, but also to listen to others, relate to others’ feelings, and to express your own emotions appropriately. Books help immensely with this.


BENEFITS OF READING TO A CHILD

As adults, if we do not understand the importance of reading, we are not going to be able to best assist our children. They are going to be learning to read in school. We need to be able to support them in that, and not just do the bare minimum to get by. In knowing the importance of reading, and why we should be reading to our children, we get to be their advocates to learn, to understand and to reach for the stars. I know that not all adults enjoy reading, and maybe it is hard for you to read, but having our children sitting on our laps, following along with the story, is a powerful thing. There truly is power in the benefits of reading with your child. They not only get to connect with you but also with the written word.

It builds listening skills and helps with building up their concentration span.

Don’t let what you feel are your limitations take away from what can happen when you read with your children. I absolutely love seeing my husband read to my girls. Reading is not his favourite thing to do and can be challenging for him, but he does it. And the girls do not care that he is not the smoothest reader, or as expressive as me – they just care that he is spending time with them and reading. (It also helps that he will read the German books to them because, while I can do it, German is not my native language and I am sure I am butchering some of the words, especially with my Australian accent.)

reading to a child
Father Daugther Bonding Through Reading Books.

THE IMPORTANCE OF READING BOOKS

Books really are a big part of our life. We read them all through school. And I am not just talking about paper books, but also e-books. While an e-reader might not have the same feel (or smell), it is a very convenient way to read and have a library at your fingertips. I like to think that I have friends in my pocket (well, handbag) because I always carry a book. I can never be lonely with a book in my hand. But reading doesn’t have to just be books: you can read magazines, researching on the internet, comic books or graphic novels. My heart is to get children reading! Let’s start with whatever we can and then show them the importance of reading books.

If a child is struggling to get into the groove of reading, then find a series that piques their interest. Or get them reading non-fiction if they are more information-driven. Different children call for different interests and books. Just because one child enjoyed Anne of Green Gables, for example, it doesn’t mean another will.  And please don’t characterize books into “girls books” and “boys books” – allow children to discover for themselves what they do and don’t like. 

Children reading Books

I asked several friends to tell me some reasons why reading is important. Here are some of their answers:

Importance Of Reading Reasons:

  • You get to learn new things
  • It lights a fire in your imagination
  • You are never bored with a good book
  • It is fun
  • It helps you in school, especially with vocabulary and spelling, and understanding what you are learning
  • Reading makes you think and wonder and dream
  • There is always something new to learn and books can help with that
  • Reading makes you a better writer and can inspire you to write
  • New worlds! New adventures! You get to jump into book world and be part of it
  • Because books are ALWAYS better than the movies

So, let us not forget that reading improves imagination, improves focus and concentration, and reading improves vocabulary

Do you feel that reading is important, not only for you but your children? Why do you enjoy reading? What are some of your favourite books? I would love to hear your thoughts on why reading is important……and I would love to hear what your favourite books are (I am always looking for new books to read). Please comment below. I can’t wait to read your responses.

Michayla Best

For over 30 years I have worked with children in a variety of capacities, whether as a teacher or tutor, a babysitter, a camp leader, or family advocate. I have always found a way to connect with children, to help them understand themselves and the world around.

I am Mummy to trinational twincesses who keep me on my toes with their questions, their commentaries, their shenanigans and acts of spontenudity.

Wife, world traveler, musician, crafting queen and self-proclaimed nerd; I love to take what I see, glean, know and help families to find their groove and be successful.

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