When we are little we are read to by parents and family members, we might go to storytime at the library and then it’s school time. At school the focus in the early years is on reading and writing, but no one ever tells you why reading is important, apart from the fact that it is kind of hard to get through life if you can’t read.
Being able to read is an important skill for getting through life (think bills, forms, banking etc), but it is actually more than that. Here are five reasons that reading is important not only when you are young, but also when you are slightly (or a lot!) older….
- Reading enhances a child’s concentration
It can be annoying reading to someone who doesn’t seem to be listening or engaging, but just the act of sitting down and focusing on one thing improves concentration. This works for adults as well, especially in this world where our attention span is getting shorter and shorter and we find it harder and harder to be present.
- Reading is important for improving your memory
When you read a story as a child or adult as the story progresses you need to remember who x is and how they fit into the story. Look at the Harry Potter books where JK Rowlings uses characters and experiences from the first book in the second and so on. As your brain practices remembering things in stories, it is improving the skill for your everyday life. Resulting in better memory.
- It makes you more empathic
Stories connect you the reader or listener with the characters, you become part of the book and feel what the characters feel. Building empathy means that you can understand and share the feelings of others, an important life skill if you want to get along with others!
- Reading relaxes you
Reading stories is important for reducing stress, but not every book necessarily delivers this… For example, horror or thrillers, might actually excite rather than calm you down. This is why on our storybooks we have a symbol that tells you if it is for day or night time reading 🙂
- Reading encourages a thirst for knowledge
This definitely happens to me, at the moment I am reading stories around world war two, not the actual world fighting part, but the stories of the civilians who were impacted by the world. It all started with The Tattooist of Auschwitz, an amazing book if you haven’t read it. Anyway back to this point, reading stories and engaging with books results with you or the child asking questions like “why did he do that?” or “why does his mummy say that?” It sparks interest and wanting to know more.
There are many more reasons that reading is important, just look around you and imagine if you couldn’t read…. It’s a scary thought.