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The Importance of Reading for Kids

Updated on April 10, 2016

They Will Learn About the World Around Them

Very young children can learn about numbers, letters, colors, shapes, and animal names from baby and toddler books. As children get older, they can learn about science, history, art, literature, music, or just about any topic from reading children's books geared towards that topic, and the more they know and can understand, the better they will do later in life.

Books take kids to an imaginary world!
Books take kids to an imaginary world!

They Will Develop Their Imagination

When kids read or listen to children's books, especially fictional children's books, the stories help them develop their imaginations. Books can take them into an imaginary world where anything can happen. For example, they can read about doing new things, going to far off lands, meeting people, or traveling through time or space. This encourages creative thinking and can later help them become better writers or storytellers.

They Will Develop Empathy

Studies have shown that reading or listening to books help kids develop empathy. When they read or hear a story and pay attention to the problems that the characters have to deal with in the story, they feel what the characters feel. For example, if the characters in the book feel sad, the child will want the characters to feel happy again. If the characters in the book feel lonely, the child will want the characters to find a friend. If they feel scared, the child will want everything to be okay so the characters aren't scared anymore. The child can learn from this and apply it to real life, so they can empathize with real people such as family, friends, or other children that the meet on the playground.

Reading is a great way to spend time together!
Reading is a great way to spend time together!

They Will Have a Closer Relationship with You

If you are a parent or other caretaker that is reading a book to your kids, it is a wonderful way for you to spend time with your kids. You and the kids can explore the book together and benefit from it. Your child can sit beside you or on your lap, so you are really spending some time together. This can help maintain the bond between the two of you, and your relationship with the child will be closer because you are reading frequently together and talking about the books that you have read.

They Will Want to Learn to Read

Learning to read well is important to kids' success later in life. Research shows that young children that are read to frequently will be more interested in and willing to learn to read. Older children that have already begun to learn to read will continue to improve their reading. The more kids read, the better they will get at it, especially if the child really wants to practice his or her reading.

Expands Their Interest and Develops Their Curiosity

Kids are most likely to choose books about subjects that they are already interested in. When the kids read the books that interest them, they may become interested in other subjects as well. For example, if a child is interested in trains and chooses to read a book about trains, he pr she might become interested in tractors, buses, or helicopters. If the child already likes horses and reads books about horses, he or she might become interested in sheep, goats, pigs, or cows as well. Books about one topic often contain references to similar topics, and that can expand the child's curiosity. Developing curiosity about as many topics as possible will be beneficial when it comes time to learn and read about these topics in school.

Benefits of Reading To Kids

It Will Help Them Infer New Words

Studies show that reading books of any kind to kids can improve their vocabulary. The more words your kids know, they easier it is for them to understand what they are reading. If a child is reading a new book and they don't know a lot of the words, they will obviously have a lot of difficulty understanding the book because they don't know what many of the important words in the story mean. However, if they are frequent readers, they will likely already know more of the words. If they are reading a book for the first time and there is just one or two words that they don't know, they will be more likely to be able to infer, or guess, the meaning of the word that they don't know by looking at the other words that they do know. That way, they will still be able to comprehend the story.

The more kids know, the better they can communicate!
The more kids know, the better they can communicate!

They Will Be Able to Communicate Better

They more kids read or are read to, the more words they will know. When a child is talking to someone, understanding the words being said by the person talking to the child will help the child to understand what the person is trying to communicate to them. Also the child will have an easier time thinking of the words they need to communicate to others what they want or need.

Also, the more often kids are read to, the better they will be able to pronounce the words, because listening to a story being read gives them the opportunity to hear the words being correctly pronounced. Then, when the child is talking to someone, his or her speech will be more clear, so the person that the child is talking to will have an easier time understanding him or her.

In addition, listening to books being read helps with auditory perception, which is the ability to hear and understand what is being said. All of these help improve communication.

Better Self Image and More Confidence

Simply having a better vocabulary, better communication, and a better understanding of the world, will improve a child's self image. When they know a lot, people will think they are smart, and they will feel smart and more confident about learning more. They will be able to communicate with other people better and feel better about themselves. They will be more likely to ask questions when they don't understand something and want to improve themselves.

When one of my boys was younger, he got upset easily. This was likely because of a low self image caused by lack of ability to communicate his feelings. Then we started reading together more often, at least once a day. His language skills improved, and he was able to better express his needs and wants in words. In just a few months, I could see great improvement in his behavior, and I could tell that he was feeling much better about himself.

They Will Do Better in School

Considering all of the benefits of kids reading, it is no surprise that research shows that kids that read or are read to do better in school. If the child has already read a book on something, they will be more knowledgeable about it when it comes time to study that topic in school. They will have better vocabulary and reading comprehension, which will help them understand what's in their textbooks. Plus, reading increases IQ, so they will have an easier time learning new things. They will be more confident in their studies and believe that they can do well. They will be more likely to ask questions in class if they need help clarifying something.

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    • renee21 profile image

      renee21 18 months ago

      This is a great hub! I love how important it is for children to read.