Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Importance of Being a Reader

Reading is an important part of many families around the world, some being “natural-born readers”  and others having taught themselves the habit. But why is it important? Why should we encourage young children to be readers? We’ll try to find some answers.

“Reading is the opening door to other worlds” was the very cliché phrase that was in the back cover of The Wishing Tree by William Faulkner (his only children’s book). I read that book several times when I was a young girl and every time I stopped to look at that phrase I realized how accurate it was. By the time I was 13 I had already been in Denmark in the middle of a kingdom crisis, I had traveled to other planets and met a proud rose, I had fallen in a hole and had tea with a Mad Hatter,  I had cried with a miserable little match girl, I had lived the adventures of 4 little women. I had visited innumerable countries, met a lot of people and learned a lot about the world without even leaving home. Reading gives you knowledge, empathy, communication skills and imagination.

As if that wasn’t enough, kids that read tend to do much better at school. It’s simply easier for them, since they are used to focus for long periods of time, have an improved vocabulary and developed thinking skills. Overall, they have a better aptitude for learning.

And also, don’t forget: Reading is fun! It relaxes our body and calms our mind while giving us new feelings and emotions. If you are a parent that reads with your child (you really should), you are creating a strong bond, a better and nurturing relationship as well as fond memories. And even if your kids are not so young (and not so cuddly anymore), enjoying the same books as your children can open lines of communication that will only strengthen  your relationship.

I like this link by the University of Michigan Health System. In it, you'll find some more hows and whys along with links to resources on literacy. There are also links and help on what to do if someone you know (adult or child) has trouble reading. Yes, sometimes all those I don't want/like to read hide a real problem behind. It's worth checking it out.
So, go on, cozy up with your family and your favorite book. It will never be a waste of time.

Mariana Llanos

Next post we’ll talk about how to encourage children to read.

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