Why is Reading Important for Children? | Developmental Effects (2023)

Reading allows us to be transported from our own world to another. Between the pages of a book, we can become immersed in the lives of fictional characters and learn about a culture entirely different from our own. We can also learn new words and phrases, experience a range of emotions, and acquire skills and knowledge.

Because of the learning potential, the effects of reading on child development are vast and multiple studies have highlighted its benefits. As such, teachers and parents are in a great position to ensure reading is a key part of children’s daily routine. We’ll give you some more information as to why this is so important and provide some tips that you can use both in and out of the classroom.

Why is Reading Important for Children? | Developmental Effects (1)

What Are the Benefits of Reading for Children?

The importance of reading for children cannot be underestimated. Reading for pleasure can benefit a child’s education, social and cognitive development, their wellbeing, and their mental health.

What are the Effects of Reading on Child Development?

Numerous pieces of research conducted and commissioned by BookTrust have discovered the profound benefits of reading for a child’s development. One study details the effects of reading on later literacy skills, facilitating social interaction between adults and children, and encouraging children to engage with the world around them. It also states how reading can be a ‘stable source of information’ throughout a child’s life. This stability allows them to access text in a constant fashion and can be especially beneficial for children growing up in challenging circumstances.

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(Video) The Importance of Reading to Young Children

There are multiple other benefits that reading can have on a child’s development, including:

Assisted cognitive development. Cognitive development refers to how we perceive and think about our world in reference to our intelligence, reasoning, language development, and information processing. By reading to children, you provide them with a deep understanding about their world and fill their brains with background knowledge. They then use this acquired background knowledge to make sense of what they see, hear, and read, which aids their cognitive development.

Developing empathy. When we read a book, we put ourselves in the story in front of us. This allows us to develop empathy as we experience the lives of other characters and can identify with how they are feeling. Children can then use this understanding to empathise in the real world with other people. Additionally, children will gain a greater understanding of emotions, which can help them understand their own emotions and those of others. This helps dramatically with their social development.

Gaining deeper understanding. A book can take us anywhere: to another city, to a different country, or even to an alternative world. By reading a book, a child learns about people, places, and events that they couldn’t learn otherwise. This gives children a deeper understanding of the world around them and cultures that are different from their own.

Building stronger relationships. If a parent reads with a child on a regular basis, then they will undoubtedly develop a stronger relationship with them. Reading provides parents with an opportunity to have a regular and shared event that both parent and child can look forward to. Furthermore, it provides children with feelings of attention, love, and reassurance which is key for nurturing and wellbeing.

Why is Reading Important for Children? | Developmental Effects (3)

(Video) The importance of reading to your children

What is the Importance of Stories in Child Education?

Reading with children can help to create a love of reading for life. Multiple studies have found a correlation between reading for pleasure and higher academic achievement in every subject, not just English.

The benefits of reading with children on their education is wide-ranging:

Improved literary skills. Reading with aloud with young children, even if they can’t fully understand what you are saying, gives them the skills they need for when they begin to read by themselves. It shows children that reading is something achieved by focusing from left to right and that turning pages is essential for continuing. Reading to children in even the earliest months of their lives can help with language acquisition and stimulating the part of the brain that processes language.

More extensive vocabulary. Hearing words spoken aloud can expose children to a range of new vocabulary and phrases that they may not have heard otherwise. By reading to a child daily, they’ll learn new words every single day.

Greater concentration.Regular and consistent reading can help to improve a child’s concentration abilities. Furthermore, it will help a child learn to sit still and listen for long periods of time, which will benefit them in their schooling.

Higher levels of creativity and imagination. Reading a book relies on us using our imagination for picturing characters, visualising their settings and environment, and guessing what’s coming next. We must use our imagination if we are to learn about other people, places, events, and times. In turn, this developed imagination leads to greater creativity as children use the ideas in their heads to inform their work.

Finally, the more that a child is read to, and the more that they read themselves, the better they will become at it. Practice really does make perfect and, the more a child reads, the better their overall academic achievement and social skills, like empathy, will be.

Why is Reading Important for Children? | Developmental Effects (4)

The Top Ten Benefits of Reading for Children

Based on what we’ve discussed above, here are the top 10 benefits of reading for children:

  1. Their vocabulary is larger and more extensive.
  2. They perform better academically.
  3. Their imagination can run wild.
  4. Their creativity skills develop.
  5. They develop empathy.
  6. They gain a deeper understanding of their world.
  7. Their concentration levels improve.
  8. The parent and child bond improves.
  9. Their cognitive development is supported.
  10. Their social skills and interaction improve.

How to Read with Your Child

Reading aloud is an enjoyable activity that both parents and children alike can enjoy. Additionally, it is an activity that teachers find fulfilling and that they should encourage regularly, both at school and at home.

(Video) Why READING IS SO IMPORTANT for children? 📖📖

How Parents Can Read with Their Child

If you read with your child at home, then you are supplementing what they learn in the classroom as well as giving them additional one-on-one support that the classroom cannot give. To have successful and effective reading sessions, consider the following:

Start young. Even during infancy, a child can look at pictures and listen to your voice. Read aloud to your child and point to the pictures on the page, saying the name of the objects that appear. This provides your child with two sources of information: an understanding of real-world objects and an understanding of the importance of language. Even when your child can read by themselves, you should still read aloud together for practice.

Make it part of your routine. Try your best to read to your child every day and keep it consistent. Incorporate this into your, and your child’s, daily routine until it becomes as much of a habit as them brushing their teeth. However, try not to be discouraged if you miss a day – just pick your routine back up as normal when you have time.

Encourage variation. Try to vary the books that you read to your child as much as possible. This will open their eyes to a range of different worlds, cultures, and characters, and allow their imagination to be stretched and thrive.

Have patience. Sometimes we can forget what it’s like to be that age and what we were like. As an adult we take reading for granted, but it’s easier to be patient with a child when we remember how much they don’t know yet. For example, how is a child going to know to read from left to right until you point at the words as you go? How are they to know that each scrawl on the page represents a word? Take your time and be patient if they don’t understand.

Continue the discussion. After you’ve finished reading a story to your child, consider trying to keep it going. Age depending, you could ask them questions about what they’ve just read. For example, “Did you enjoy that story?”, “Who was your favourite character?” or “Why do you think the prince was happy at the end?”. However, don’t feel that this is necessary for every single story you read. If your child enjoys the book, it will develop a love of reading anyway, even without the conversation.

Why is Reading Important for Children? | Developmental Effects (5)

How Teachers Can Encourage Reading

If you’re a teacher, reading to your class will probably be second nature. However, there may be certain children in your class who only get the chance to read in school and not at home. This could be for a variety of reasons, however, try and communicate to parents the importance of reading with their child. To do so, you could:

Circulate a newsletter. You could create a fortnightly/monthly newsletter that details what your class has read in that fortnight or month and why. Then, say how parents can continue with the chosen reading topic at home. For example, if you have been studying science fiction in your class that fortnight then you could include some suggestions for other science fiction books that parents can read at home.

(Video) Why we should all be reading aloud to children | Rebecca Bellingham | TEDxYouth@BeaconStreet

Start a book club. If you have the time, you could start a book club with your class or across the school. As part of this, you could suggest a book per week, or month, that children have to read at home. Then, check their understanding of, and engagement with, that book by holding regular meetings.

Get the children involved. Make it known to your pupils that reading is valuable and fun. Ask your class to make posters that encourage others to read or create a display where each student can write what their favourite book is and why. Doing so will help to foster a love of reading in them that makes them want to read at home.

Lead by example. Let your students know that you read and you enjoy it. Talk to them about a book you’ve recently read or your all-time favourite book. You could also read a book yourself when your students are having silent reading time. This will help to motivate your students to read themselves. Finally, communicate this to parents and ask them to do something similar at home.

Why is Reading Important for Children? | Developmental Effects (6)

Reading is a powerful, fulfilling, and rewarding activity. Not only does a book act as a comfort and a friend, it also acts as a teacher and can teach children all about themselves, their world, and the cultures within it. Reading with children has numerous benefits and is something all parents and teachers should encourage.

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Why is it so important for children to read? ›

It has astonishing benefits for children: comfort and reassurance, confidence and security, relaxation, happiness and fun. Giving a child time and full attention when reading them a story tells them they matter. It builds self-esteem, vocabulary, feeds imagination and even improves their sleeping patterns.

Why is reading more important answer? ›

Strengthens Brain Activity

Reading gets your mind working across different areas. For starters, it involves comprehension to process the words you read. Beyond that, you can use your analytical abilities, stimulate memories, and even broaden your imagination by reading words off a page.

What is importance of reading? ›

Reading is Essential and serves as a basic building block for learning, regardless of the school subject, be it language arts or even math. In daily life, the need to read things such as street signs or prescriptions proves reading is also an important life skill. 2. Reading Strengthens the Brainand improves memory.

What are three reasons why reading is important? ›

Top 5 Reasons to Read Books Daily
  • Reading Improves Brain Function. A person who reads everyday gets better at it over time. ...
  • Reading Reduces Stress. Modern life is stressful – period. ...
  • Reading Can Improve Your State of Mind. ...
  • Reading Improves Overall Wellness. ...
  • Reading Aloud to Children Has a Lasting Impact.
28 Sept 2018

How does reading help a child's social development? ›

Reading Helps Communication Skills

A huge part of social development is to learn how to communicate with the outside world. Reading showcases different ways of interacting with others and how to properly handle discussions that may be difficult for a child to control.

Why are books important 10 points? ›

1) Books are our lifelong friends. 2) Reading books helps us in sharpening our memory. 3) They enlighten us about our past events. 4) Reading books helps us to get relieved from stress.

How does reading benefit the brain? ›

Reading consistently strengthens connections in the brain, improves memory and concentration, and may even help you live longer. Reading can also reduce stress levels and prevent age-related cognitive decline. To read more, set aside time every day to pick up a book, whether it's during your commute or before bed.

What is the power of reading? ›

The Power of Reading helps to develop inference and deduction and comprehension skills. It also involves children regularly writing in different genres and creates a more cohesive learning experience. • Literacy is at the heart of the curriculum and the texts facilitate a range of exciting cross curricular work.

Is reading still important today? ›

Reading is a gateway to learning anything about everything. It helps you discover new things and educate yourself in any area of life you are interested in. You can find a book on just about any subject you can imagine, dive in and start learning.

What are the benefits of reading everyday? ›

15 incredible benefits from reading every day
  • Promotes mental health. ...
  • Reduces stress. ...
  • Improves general knowledge. ...
  • More empathetic. ...
  • Expands vocabulary. ...
  • Improves writing skills. ...
  • Stronger analytical thinking skills. ...
  • Improves memory.
31 Jan 2018

What are the benefits of reading essay? ›

Reading is important because it develops your mind and gives you excessive knowledge and lessons of life. It helps you understand the world around you better. It keeps your mind active and enhances your creative ability. Communication Skills: Reading improves your vocabulary and develops your communication skills.

What are the 7 benefits of reading? ›

Here are seven important benefits of reading aloud with children:
  • Develops stronger vocabulary. ...
  • Builds connections between the spoken and written word. ...
  • Provides enjoyment. ...
  • Increases attention span. ...
  • Strengthens cognition. ...
  • Provides a safe way of exploring strong emotions. ...
  • Promotes bonding.
3 Mar 2015

What is the value of reading? ›

What happens when students read? They train their brains, in essence. They are mentally stimulated, acquire knowledge and ideas, reduce stress in their lives, improve their vocabularies and memory, and develop keener analytical skills.

Can all reading help children? ›

Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word.

How does reading improve education? ›

Reading helps students think critically and improves reading comprehension skills, which is beneficial in every subject area measured in this study. However, the benefits of pleasure reading do not end in the classroom.

How does reading help a child's emotional development? ›

Learning social-emotional skills.

Reading helps children gain a greater understanding of emotions, which can help them understand their own emotions and those of others.

How does reading to children help their emotional development? ›

When you read a story about feelings, it helps children understand and accept how they feel. others may feel the same way they do. This helps them to know that their feelings are ok. observing their reaction to expressions of emotion in a story.

How do books help students? ›

What are the benefits of reading?
  • Enhanced brain activity. Unlike watching television or streamed entertainment, reading requires focus. ...
  • Improved vocabulary. By exposing students to new words, reading can expand vocabulary. ...
  • Developing critical thinking. ...
  • Increased ability to understand others.
17 Nov 2019

How books can change your life? ›

It helps us relate to other people and encourages us to be kind and considerate of other people's feelings. As it turns out, reading can actually help improve empathy. When people read stories about other people's lives, it helps them develop the skills to understand the world through another person's perspective.

What is book value? ›

Books enhance our listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. 3.It helps us to boost creativity and imagination. 4. Reading books add powerful vocabulary and communication skills.

Does reading improve focus? ›

Reading has been proven to increase your focus, attention span, concentration, and to improve memory.

How does reading reduce stress? ›

Reading is proven to reduce stress and increase relaxation.

Reading books, particularly fiction, fully engages the mind and imagination. Any activity that possesses meditative qualities in which the brain is fully focused on a single task is proven to reduce stress and enhance relaxation.

Does reading help your memory? ›

If you are looking for ways to improve your memory and concentration and also relieve stress, reading will help. The brain-stimulating activities from reading have shown to slow down cognitive decline in old age with people who participated in more mentally stimulating activities over their lifetimes.

Why do people love reading? ›

Those who talked about quiet entertainment tended toward phrases like “a stress-free escape,” “a nice way to relax,” “I read because it's not work,” “diverting, entertaining and educational,” and “It draws me away from reality.” That was echoed by a respondent who said reading “takes you away, like a movie in your head ...

What is reading in your own words? ›

"Reading" is the process of looking at a series of written symbols and getting meaning from them. When we read, we use our eyes to receive written symbols (letters, punctuation marks and spaces) and we use our brain to convert them into words, sentences and paragraphs that communicate something to us.

How can students develop reading habits? ›

  1. Make reading a daily habit. You can start raising a reader from the day your child is born. ...
  2. Read in front of your child. ...
  3. Create a reading space. ...
  4. Take trips to the library. ...
  5. Let your child pick what to read. ...
  6. Find reading moments in everyday life. ...
  7. Re-read favorite books. ...
  8. Learn more about how kids read.

How is reading associated with learning? ›

Reading to children helps them to develop their vocabulary, a love of reading, and phonemic awareness, i.e. the ability to hear and manipulate the individual sounds (phonemes) of oral language. Children will often "read" stories they have memorized.

Does reading help with speech? ›

There is a strong relationship between reading and speaking skills. Reading contributes, amongst other things, to vocabulary building, accuracy in the use of grammar, and enhances the ability to spontaneously speak and communicate verbally.

What are the 3 most important purposes for reading children's books? ›

Why Do Kids Need Books?
  • Books create warm emotional bonds between adults and kids when they read books together.
  • Books help kids develop basic language skills and profoundly expand their vocabularies—much more than any other media.
  • Books are interactive; they demand that kids think.

Why is literacy important for children's development? ›

Literacy development is a vital part of your child's overall development. It's the foundation for doing well at school, socialising with others, problem-solving, making decisions, developing independence, managing money and working.

What are the 10 importance of reading? ›

Reading is good for you because it improves your focus, memory, empathy, and communication skills. It can reduce stress, improve your mental health, and help you live longer. Reading also allows you to learn new things to help you succeed in your work and relationships.

Why is reading and writing important for child development? ›

They learn to understand and use language to express their ideas, thoughts, and feelings, and to communicate with others. During early speech and language development, children learn skills that are important to the development of literacy (reading and writing).

How does reading improve your knowledge? ›

Because reading increases your vocabulary and your knowledge of how to correctly use new words, reading helps you clearly articulate what you want to say. The knowledge you gain from reading also gives you lots to talk about with others.

What are the benefits of reading essay? ›

Reading is important because it develops your mind and gives you excessive knowledge and lessons of life. It helps you understand the world around you better. It keeps your mind active and enhances your creative ability. Communication Skills: Reading improves your vocabulary and develops your communication skills.

How does reading help a child's social development? ›

By reading a book, a child learns about people, places, and events that they couldn't learn otherwise. This gives children a deeper understanding of the world around them and cultures that are different from their own. Building stronger relationships.

What is reading in early childhood education? ›

Reading with children is an opportunity to support children to make meaning from texts, and to learn “how texts work” (e.g. exploring texts). Children can also “rehearse” their emergent literacy skills (e.g. concepts of print, phonological awareness, making meaning) through the supportive scaffolding from educators.

How do children learn to read? ›

Typically, children follow a very specific path toward reading. First, there is the fundamental phonological processing—the awareness of sounds themselves. This awareness builds into phonics, or the ability to decode a sound to match a letter. And those, finally, merge into full, automatic reading comprehension.

What is the value of reading? ›

What happens when students read? They train their brains, in essence. They are mentally stimulated, acquire knowledge and ideas, reduce stress in their lives, improve their vocabularies and memory, and develop keener analytical skills.


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