You probably know that reading is a good thing for your child – otherwise you wouldn't have searched for or found this article. But sometimes it's nice to know why and exactly what benefits and opportunities you are giving your child through the simple act of reading something, anything.
1. Build confidence and personality
Aside from being a must-have skill, standing children in good stead for all aspects of adult life; reading, and reading for pleasure in particular, can build confidence, personality and develop a child’s opinions and principles. But how? Reading helps both adults and children to grow their knowledge of different ideas, scenarios and experiences. So when it comes to forming their own opinions and ideas, children do so with the confidence formed though a rich tapestry of examples. For example, if children have read 100 books about dinosaurs, both fact and fiction, this consistent presentation of fact, consequence and resolution helps them to ask themselves hundreds of questions. So when real-life questions are asked, about anything, they've practised so many times through reading that they can answer confidently.
2. Spark an interest and expand their world
Think about when you read something. Your brain may be processing the words, but what are you actually getting out of it unless you have enjoyed it? Did it stimulate and enrich your mind? If it didn’t, did you learn anything? Do you even understand it? By encouraging children to start reading about what they are interested in, whether it’s animal books or aeroplane magazines you will spark an interest, disassociating any negative feelings towards reading. They will then be able to decide independently what they like to read, beginning the journey of widening their libraries as well as their minds.
3. Lead by example
You will see clearly how your actions directly influence your child's actions. We all know that children chop and change their current favourite thing every few days or weeks, and as parents, we can't keep up. But the mainstay of any child's like is the parent or guardian, so even if your child can't or won't believe it, you are their ultimate idol. Every parent knows that their child is encouraged to read at school, but this skill cannot be taught in just a few hours a day; there needs to be a connection to home and ideally an ethos that the whole family lives by. So to reinforce how important reading is, show them – read a magazine, newspaper, book for your own pleasure – and they will view that as the norm and follow suit.
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