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I was brought up in a family where education was a very important thing. Although, I didn't really encompass that way of thinking as a child and all the way through to my teen years, becoming a Mother made me realise the truth behind what my Mother would say to me.
One thing that my mother would always encourage me to do was read, and I read a lot. At the age of five, I was reading books of over 150 pages (child-friendly, of course). I remember the first book I read on my own, Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In fact, I sort of broke my mum's heart when I told her I didn't need her to read with me anymore.
As I got older, something went wrong. I didn't read as much and eventually I stopped reading all together. All my time was packed, with studying and writing essays and more studying. So through all the reading my school gave to me, I grew a hatred towards reading. I never wanted to pick up a book again. And, a few years ago, I learnt that I wasn't the only child who went through this feeling of hate towards reading. Only 10 percent of children carry their love of reading through to teen years and further. And this is not right. Reading is so very important for developing little minds, and here is why...
Future Academic Success
There are links that show if a child is successful at reading, they are more likely to have a successful academic time in college and university.
This one is a bit obvious, but is still important. Children can and will learn new words while reading. I saw this quote, "Never make fun of someone who mispronounced a word. They learned it by reading." – Anonymous
The Matthew Effect in Reading
This is from a study by Keith E Stanovich in 1986. It outlines the differences in individuals in their learning of literacy. The basic outline of his report states that successful reading early on leads to success later on, and the fact that the gap between better readers and slower readers is getting larger. If a child is a poor reader and isn't helped early enough, when they get older it will be harder for them to catch up and some never do.
Now some may disagree with me on this one, but imagination is important, just as much as education. And reading enhances your imagination. If your child is the creative type, get them to read fantastical stories with whim and wonder, and see how their imagination flourishes.
In a study done by Cunningham and Stanovich "What Reading Does for the Mind," they revealed that those who read more become more intelligent. And who doesn't want a smart child?
Reading more creates better writing. They can learn different sentence structure, grammar, and a little bonus; it enhances communication skills in both writing and speaking.
One of the best ways to learn about what your child loves is for them to read about it. So being able to read and digest information better enables them to be able to pick up a book and learn about a place, a person, and time in history or whatever it is that they want to learn about.
Independence and Self-confidence
Now, I know from experience that us Mothers want our babies to stay babies and it's always scary when you realise that your child wants to take his or her first independent steps on their own. But inevitably they have to be independent, and I want them to be confident doing it, so I will shovel books at them 'till the cows come home.
That's not all of it, there are so many more ways reading benefits all of us. Not just children, but it is more beneficial to start them young and to encourage them to keep going. They don't have to read novels, I myself read books on history and dinosaurs and the odd fictional book when I was young. I learned so much, and it still sticks with me now.
So keep those book-worms wriggling. You will see the benefits soon enough.