For parents, it’s a joy to see your child’s face light up when you read her favorite book aloud. Or to see your child so immersed in a novel that he loses all track of time.
We know it’s a wonderful thing to love reading. It’s also crucial to your child’s success—it’s at the core of his or her education, right along with building strong skills.
So, why is having a love of reading so important for academic success? And what are the personal rewards?
A Big Academic Boost
Children who love reading perform better in school overall. It’s simple—the more kids like to read, the more they do it, and the better they become at reading. And when reading is fun and easy, kids like it even more. It’s a positive cycle, and it pays off in some really important ways:
- Your child will build better skills. He or she will have stronger reading comprehension, and better writing and spelling skills. Kids who do a lot of reading for pleasure get higher test scores. They even get a boost in math!
- Your child will have more confidence and motivation. Sometimes reading is hard, but kids who love to read know that there’s a payoff to sticking with it. The flipside is that without a love of reading, the struggle is just too frustrating, and kids can feel like giving up.
If your child loves to read—and does a lot of it—he or she will have a real advantage when it comes to school.
Meaningful Personal Rewards
It’s not just about academic success, though. There some really significant personal rewards that come from having a love of reading.
- Children who love to read get to feel the joy of being lost in a good book. It’s like the real world falls away. Your child is inside the story and gets to experience the adventures right along with the characters. In fact, to your child, it feels like he or she is the main character. This is a really pleasurable and rewarding experience, and it can actually be life-changing.
- Reading shapes the way children understand the world. When your child is lost in a book, he or she can live in another time in history, or visit a faraway place and live a completely different life. Maybe your child meets a character and thinks, “This person is just like me,” or, “Wow, I’ve never looked at things this way before.” Reading becomes a meaningful experience that really expand your child’s horizons.
- Getting absorbed in books shapes who your child is. Really great books deal with things that kids relate to, like growing up, facing fears, and navigating friendships. When readers identify with a character who’s going through these things, they enter the character’s mind and they get to think and feel in new ways. It gives children a deeper understanding of other people, and of themselves. Reading is deeply formative experience that shows your child the kind of person he or she wants to be.
Simple Ways to Help Your Child Fall in Love with Books
Loving books and getting lost in stories is a powerful experience, and it has such a profound impact. It’s exactly what we want for our kids. So, what are some simple things you can do to help your child get there?
- Read aloud to your child a lot when he or she is young. This is the number-one thing parents can do to help their kids fall in love with books. Snuggling up with a parent and listening to stories is a wonderful experience that shapes your child in really positive ways.
- Help your child find good books to read. Books that really pull your child into the story will get him or her excited about reading. You can help your child figure out what those books are. Some kids like realistic or historical fiction, while others prefer fantasy, adventure, or mysteries. Whatever your child likes is great—just make sure he or she reads, reads, reads!
- Make reading a part of your family’s everyday life. Encourage your child to read, and let your child see you read. Have conversations about the books that everyone in the family is reading. Make sure there are lots of books around the house. All of these things send your child a clear message that reading is important—and fun!
Getting lost in books, and having that experience over and over again, will make your child a reader. Reading for pleasure will become part of who your child is, a core part of his or her identity. Your child will always be able to look to books for knowledge, pleasure, and inspiration. A love of reading will enrich your child’s life now and long into the future.