Reading Is For Everyone
Why is reading so important?
Reading for pleasure
- There is overwhelming evidence that literacy has a significant relationship to people's life chances. Reading for pleasure is more important than either wealth or social class as an indicator of success at school.
- Parents are the most important reading role models for children and young people, yet according to the Reading Agency, only 1 in 5 parents easily find the opportunity to read to their children.
What does reading do for our children?
- Reading improves concentration - Children have to sit still and quietly so they can focus on the story when they’re reading.
- Reading also relaxes the body and calms the mind whilst also exercising the connections in the brain.
- Reading teaches children about the world around them - Through reading, they learn about people, places and events outside their own experience.
- Reading improves a child’s vocabulary, leads to more highly-developed language skills and improves the child's ability to write well.
- Children learn new words as they read as well as seeing how to structure sentences and how to use language effectively.
- Reading develops a child’s imagination - When we read we translate the descriptions of people, places and things into pictures.
- Reading helps children develop empathy - When we’re engaged in a story, we imagine how the characters are feeling and use our own experiences to imagine how we would feel in the same situation.
Talking about books
- Once children have learned to read, comprehension of what the words are telling you becomes an important skill to practice, and reading to your child is a good way. Ask them to re-cap what’s already happened. Ask them to guess what might happen next. Get them to tell you how they would feel. A selection of questions can be found in our Resources section.
Fiction vs non-fiction
- Many children have a preference for either stories or fact books, but it is important to get a mix. Fiction helps children have empathy with other people, understand characters and how they relate to each other, while non-fiction gives children the ability to understand facts and more complex ideas.
A book at bedtime
- Reading a story to your child at bedtime is a great way to end the day and a lovely way of enjoying reading for pleasure.
- If you’ve had a stressful or busy day, half an hour sat curled up on your child’s bed reading together is a good way to wind down.
- If your child has had some challenging behaviour then spending some quiet time reading is a way of re-connecting.
- Reading to your child gives them access to stories and vocabulary that they might not be able to read so fluently themselves and is great for reluctant readers too.
- A story at the end of the day is also part of a good night time routine that can help your child settle and wake up refreshed ready for the next day.