In a world where technology is at our fingertips, it can be easy to forget the importance of reading for kids. But books provide children with so many opportunities and advantages that they should be encouraged to read as early and as often as possible. This also applies to adults: reading strengthens mental fitness and reduces stress levels
Advantages of reading for kids
Improving their vocabulary and communication skills: The more words children are exposed to, the more likely they are to learn them. Reading also helps with sentence structure, grammar and overall communication skills – all important things for success in school and life:
- Encouraging their imagination: When children read stories, they get to use their imaginations to picture the characters and events in their mind. This is great for creative thinking and problem solving later on in life.
- Fostering a love of learning: Children who enjoy reading are more likely to become lifelong learners. They’ll be interested in exploring new topics and will continue learning even after they finish school.
- Preparing them for academic success: Good readers tend to do better in school than non-readers. They excel in both literacy-based subjects like English, but also in other areas like math and science where being able to understand complex instructions is key.
- Teaching them about different cultures and worlds: Books can take kids on adventures right from their own home! They can visit different countries or times, meet new people and learn about different customs – all without ever leaving their bedroom!
Advantages for Adults
Adults who read regularly can enjoy a number of benefits. Reading can improve your mental flexibility and memory, help fight depression and anxiety, lower stress levels, and even improve your sleep.
Mental Flexibility and Memory
Adults who read regularly often have better mental flexibility and memory than those who don’t. A 2013 study found that reading fiction can improve your “theory of mind” – basically, your ability to understand others’ thoughts and feelings. And a 2015 study found that reading narrative texts (like fiction books) can improve your short-term memory, too. This is likely because reading requires you to keep track of multiple characters’ stories at once, which exercises your brain.
Depression and Anxiety Relief
Reading has also been shown to be an effective way to combat depression and anxiety. A 2016 study found that just six minutes of reading can help reduce stress levels by 68%. And a 2017 review looked at 19 different studies on the subject and concluded that reading could be an “effective strategy” for reducing symptoms of depression. One possible explanation for this is that reading provides a form of escapism: it allows you to temporarily forget about your own problems and immerse yourself in someone else’s story.