reading

Why is Reading Important for Kids? Here are 5 Reasons Why

Why is reading important for kids? There are many reasons. Reading is great! There is no arguing against it. So, let’s find out why it is a good idea to let your child read.

  • Vocabulary: your son/daughter learns new vocabulary.

    Why is Reading Important for Kids?
    Image by Jo-B from Pixabay

  • Values. Many books highlight certain values that your child may relate to
  • Reading books aloud to small children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world
  • Some stories are unforgettable and will remain with them for the rest of their lives
  • Reading improves IQ

Learning new Vocabulary

It goes without saying that your knowledge of vocabulary increases when you read books. That does not mean that you have to stop and check the dictionary every now and then for a new word. In many cases you can understand the meaning of a word via the context in which it was used.

I am not a native English speaker. I am from Belgium, and obviously I learned English as a third language in school (first Flemish and French). Nonetheless, my knowledge of English vocabulary increased considerably by watching movies, reading books, and listening to English and American songs.

My first English words did not come from my school teacher but from the American westerns (usually with John Wayne or James Stewart), because my father used to watch them all the time. He was a big fan of John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. 😉 He also made us watch plenty of the spaghetti westerns 🙂

western

And, naturally, reading books also helped a lot.

The Importance of Values

Most books teach values and many stories come with a morale.

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, include a lot of values, such as wisdom, generosity, justice, friendship, compassion, selflessness, courage, and much more.

Harry Potter teaches us to choose our friends wisely and to face our fears head on. In the Harry Potter books it is also beautifully illustrated how some teachers can really make a difference in students’ lives. Remember Remus Lupin, and what he did for Neville Longbottom? Reading that was so heartwarming.

Alice in Wonderland leaves the valuable lesson that we were a different person yesterday than we were today, and so we should not dwell on mistakes from the past, because we were not the person we are today. We are always improving ourselves and we can be a better version of ourselves today than we were yesterday. Reproaching ourselves for errors from the past is something we have to let go of.

Easier said than done … I also take occasional trips down memory lane, and some memories are better left forgotten, some guilt is hard to deal with. Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland’s lesson is therefore one to remember.

Today we are not who we were yesterday.

Stimulating Children’s Imagination

It is beautiful to read a child a bedtime story. I love it when they hang onto your lips, eager to hear the rest of the tale. Their imagination flies and they begin to ask questions like “but why didn’t she run?” “Why didn’t he do this or that?”

imagination

And not only when you are reading to a child, but when a child reads a book, imagination is broadened by stimulating the right side of the brain. Reading opens our mind to seeing the world through someone else’s eyes, experience the world through a character’s life. That in turn leads children to analyze the character’s actions.

Imagination is important, because it helps us draw conclusions which is based on our knowledge and experience of the world around us. We explore beyond our limits, find new worlds and new challenges to which we may or not relate, but which we will analyze regardless and find solutions to.

Imagination leads to creativity.

Unforgettable Stories

map or north AmericaWhen I was eleven, I bought a new book, and this one would keep me busy for a while, for it had around 1300 pages. The book was called Sacajawea and it was the amazing story of a remarkable, indigenous woman who traveled with Lewis and Clarke on the North American continent, helping their expedition succeed.

I read it all, and I was mesmerized by Sacajawea’s story. I admired her for her strength and her spirit, and she has remained with me ever since, for decades. Some books are unforgettable, and for me it was Sacajawea’s story. Which one was it for you and which one will it be for your son or daughter? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Improved IQ

First of all, as I mentioned in my first point, reading teaches us more vocabulary. So, yes, reading makes us smarter. When you read accurate historical fiction you also get a glimpse into past centuries through the eyes and experiences of the main character, making you learn about a time long past.

Additionally, reading can make us more compassionate and empathetic. When stories are character-driven, we will warm to those characters and feel with them, relate to their travails and rejoice in their successes, thus increasing our empathy. This is another reason why reading can increase your IQ and why it is important for kids.

empathy

What does empathy have to do with IQ? IQ is not all about academics. We would not function as humans if our intelligence was only academical. What about connecting with others, feeling sympathy, compassion; what about connecting? Character-driven stories increase children’s empathy and as a result they will improve their social skills.

Academics have their merits and they are needed, but they are not the only skill we need to focus on, not by far. What use is a strong academical knowledge without any emotional intelligence? Character-driven books will help teach children about social skills.

Final Thoughts

Which of your childhood books have remained in your thoughts ever since? Which books have left a lasting impression on you when you were a child or adolescent? Are there any books you recommend for children? Let me know, it would be great to get some suggestions in the comments below.

Thank you for reading, and I am looking forward to your comments.

Stand Tall, a children’s book about a little girl who stands up to a bully

 

Disclaimer: As an Amazon affiliate, I earn a small commission if you make a purchase through any of the Amazon links I provide through these photos, at no extra cost to you. This helps me maintain my website. 🙂

18 thoughts on “Why is Reading Important for Kids? Here are 5 Reasons Why

  1. Oh, I soooo love this article and the topic altogether!
    When I was a very little girl, I was lucky enough to have an older brother who by I learnt to write and read much ahead of my time. If I was naughty, my Mom would discipline me in a moment by forbidding me to read-that’s how much it meant to me.
    I remember, at age of five, reading a book about a very young boy who was pushed into being a king in very unfriendly circumstances, but, though scared, he remained a righteous, good king for his people (unfortunately, I do not remember the title, nor the author). When I put it down, I came out of the room telling to my Mom that I will “help my people till the end of my life”. That’s what the young king said in the book, when confronted with threats, and I WAS that young, firm and well-meaning king in my mind in that moment. I believe I learnt already then that no matter how high you climb, you always want to take care about others.
    A book is always part of my gift to a newborn, as I remember how my own child enjoyed my readings, all the way until she could read on her own. I also believe reading even boosted her natural creativity, as it really broadened her imagination.

    1. Hi Kerryanne,

      And now you are helping people with your website, just like you said when you were a little girl 🙂 It is wonderful how those reads stay with us for the rest of our lives, leaving messages and values instilled with us. I also think that a book is a beautiful gift to give. 🙂
      Thank you for your comment!

  2. Hi Christine,

    Thanks for a great read and you definitely sparked a trip down memory lane with the mere mention of Alice in Wonderland.

    Funnily enough, a regular reading habit was instilled into me from a very young age, and even though I initially hated it, reading soon grew on me.

    I can definitely attest to it helping with things like my imagination, vocabulary, and there are definitely some stories I will never, ever forget (I’m kinda hoping it may have boosted my IQ a little too, LOL).

    My regular reading habit has stayed with me throughout my life and It is something I have taught my own children (who shall be reading this article, just so I can say, “I told you so”.)

    Thank you for a wonderful reminder.

    Partha

    1. Hi Partha,

      As a child I loved to read and I still do. I just love curling up somewhere and getting lost in another world.
      Alice in Wonderland is an unforgettable story, and I also loved the movie in which Johnny Depp played the Mad Hatter.
      And I have no doubt that your IQ has increased just like your imagination and vocabulary 😉
      Thank you for your comment!

  3. Hi Christine,
    I loved your website and all the articles you have written. You sure understand kids well, and you have managed to ccome up with exactly why kids need to read.
    I am a firm believer in the dictum that we all must read 500 pages a day, roughly. All the greats of the world have stressed the reading habit enough. And to develop a reading habit, we need to make kids develop a love for books.
    When my kids were young, we had books at every place that they could reach. It sure has helped them become avid readers.
    Aparna

  4. Hi Christine,

    Thank you very much for your article. I really enjoyed reading it and I can relate to what you have said. When I was young, a lot of my values and imagination where developed from the books I read. I loved reading books and I still do, even now I prefer reading self-development and psychological books.

    I had a period in my life when I stopped reading books because school was imposing reading a lot of books that I haven’t enjoyed and I started to dislike reading.

    Later on, I have realised that something is missing from my life and realised that was reading.

    Kind regards,
    Yoana

    1. Hi Yoana,

      School has a lot of obligatory literature, some of it is great and there are other books that are less enjoyable. Besides, we all have different preferences, so it will be hard for us all to like the same book. I think that it would be a good idea if schools also gave an additional option of reading and reviewing a book of the student’s choice, as long as it is approved by the teacher. I am glad that you found your love for reading again 🙂

  5. This article has brought back so many childhood memories. I was a big fan of Roald Dahl and his books, especially The BFG, Mr and Mrs Twit, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the list goes on.
    I’ve also read couple of David Walliam books such as Mr Stink and and the Awful Auntie. David’s writing style is very similar with Roald Dahl a lot. 🙂

    I generally love to read children’s books, as it brings back the inner child of me. 🙂

    Looking looking at your recommendation of children’s books and why it’s important for them to be readers. The benefits of reading are all spot on and I have personally seen it happening with my siblings and cousins. They all are sharp and super clever.

    1. Hi Habib,

      There are so many great children’s books. I also loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and so many others. Like you, it also brings back the inner child in me 😉
      Thank you for your comment!

  6. Hi, Christine,

    I love reading! I regret not having started at a young age. I mean, I would read books for some school assignments, but I didn’t get to like them until my late teenage years.

    Just like you, English is not my native language. My native language is Spanish, but I’ve read so many English books that they helped me learn the language. I can attest to the veracity of learning lots of vocabulary and grammar through reading.

    There are so many benefits to reading. If parents teach their kids this habit at an early age, it will most likely stick with them when they grow up.

    I’m not a kid anymore, but I can still imagine what the characters go through as I’m reading. I can picture them in my mind and can’t put the book down until I finish it. I wish I had more time to read, but oh well, we have to take advantage of the free time we have.

    Off the top of my head, books for kids I can think of are The Little Prince, Charlotte’s Web (this one made me cry), The Secret Garden, Heidi, and some Charles Dickens’ novels (although I think they’re a little depressing lol).

    There is so much to explore! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Hi Enrique,

      I loved the Secret Garden! What a treasure that book is! I could read it again, and I also loved the movie. I also read several of Charles Dickens’ novels. I did not read Charlotte’s Web, because I heard that is a little tearjerker at the end, but I should read it one day.
      Thank you for your comment!

  7. As always, thank you for taking the time to write this amazing content. I agree, reading is very important for kids, but that being said, I cannot get my kid to read a single page….

    I tried everything and it doesn’t work. Do you have any tips on how to get my 9year old to read a book that might have worked for you???

    1. Hi Gorjan,

      Not everyone likes to read. When I taught literature in school, I did fun activities for the class sometimes, to include the students who did not like to read. I let them read out loud, but would then change abruptly to another reader after having only read one or one and a half sentence. This forced them to focus, because no one knew when I was going to call someone’s name, and at the same time it made it fun. I would also do reading exercises in different tones of voice, happy sad, angry, excited, etc. At home it is of course different from a classroom with a group of students, but maybe this can help in some way? You could do similar activities within the family perhaps, to turn reading into fun instead of a chore?

  8. Hi Christine,

    Your sharing today reminds me of my childhood. I remember that my mom took me to the library and read some kid books for me, and since then, I asked my mom to go again whenever she got the free time. I love the books from Hans Christian Andersen, and his stories are too interesting to forget even though I was a kid.
    I also agree with you that reading brings imagination and vocabularies to kids’ lives, which makes them gain the courage to see the world and embrace the differences.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  9. Well, I’m.not sure it is possible to find a parent who doesn’t want their kid to read because it would be very criminal. Children today themselves are beginning to love to watch motion pictures than reading and it just keeps getting worse. I feel we need to indulge them in more reading than watching. I believe they can learn lots of values from reading books and also boost literacy too.

    1. Hi Suz,

      I agree, now it is easier to just watch a video or movie instead of reading. We must awaken children’s interest in reading again.

      Thank you for your comment!

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