Is Reading Really Beneficial?
Adventure novel, detective, fantasy epic, comic strip, documentary, magazine, whatever the reading, reading at least ten minutes a day promotes the development of children and adolescents. Reading has many benefits for the mental, physical and psychological health of young people. Even as adults, many of us who enjoy reading and writing now, probably loved reading as a child. The new writers of today may not know that you can print on demand books now, easily!
How does reading promote the development of a child?
1. Reading improves memory
Just as exercising keeps the body going, reading helps keep the mind alive. The brain works like a muscle. The more you make it work (by reading, for example), the less likely it is to be damaged. Knowing that children’s brains are under development until the age of 18, it is all the more vital for them to maintain their neural connections through reading. According to studies, regular readers minimize their risk of cognitive deterioration by 32%. Compared to those who don’t read, they are therefore less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
2. Reading decreases stress and promotes sleep
School pressure, long and busy days, stress affects children earlier and earlier and does not spare teenagers. An article in the Telegraph, tells us that by reading and therefore focusing on a story, the young person puts aside his current worries and reduces their tensions. Reading and meditation activate the same areas of the brain. According to scientists at Yale University, reading reduces stress by 68%. As a result, reading, by calming us, improves the quality of our sleep. The ritual of reading a story to one’s children before sleeping is therefore to be cultivated. Especially since it helps to improve the parent-child relationship. The ritual of reading before bed sends a signal to the child’s brain to let it know that it is time to sleep. Please note, this does not apply to screen readings (computers, tablets or smartphones). These devices indeed reflect a blue light which alters the quality of sleep.
3. Reading prolongs life expectancy
According to a study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, indulging in reading novels for about 30 minutes every day would reduce the risk of dying by 17% in the next twelve years. Beyond 3h30 per week, this proportion would even rise to 23%! Reading is good for your physical health!
4. Reading helps to better understand others
Do you want to develop your offspring’s capacity for empathy? Encourage your child to read. Indeed, diving into a novel puts us in the shoes of a character, and this helps us to better put ourselves in the shoes of others, according to a study in the journal of science. By following the adventures of their favorite character, young people are better able to decipher the emotions of others, and to develop their emotional intelligence. Therefore, even if reading is a solitary activity, it facilitates human relationships better.
5. Self-help books are effective against depression
Adolescents often go through periods of depression. During these times, parents often feel helpless. If so, encourage yours to read self-help books. A study from the University of Glasgow found that reading self-help books, or “bibliotherapy“, resulted in less depression compared to patients who did not read. These books help young people to help themselves; they generally have a very beneficial “feel good” effect. Books are an escape from the world.
6. Reading enriches vocabulary
Literature offers young people a wider vocabulary than television or the Internet. The Science Daily even tells us that early readers would perform better in school and develop their intelligence more than others. Going from zero books to a little reading allows you to double your vocabulary. However, having a good vocabulary will be a valuable professional asset for your child. Being able to communicate eloquently with colleagues is a great way to improve self-confidence. Enriching your vocabulary can even advance your career. Indeed, people with a very good vocabulary appear in the eyes of others, educated and cultivated. They are therefore more likely to be promoted than others. Reading will also allow them to gain better knowledge of grammar and spelling!
7. Reading improves writing
To read is to write. Stephen King even goes so far as to say in his memoirs that you cannot become a writer if you have not read a certain number of books in your life. Look around and you will notice that people who can write well are people who have read a lot (or read a lot). Your child’s reading will be felt in the way they write. Their writing will be of better quality, and they will have more ease in expressing themselves in writing.
How to make a child love reading?
Nowadays, the omnipresence of screens tends to distract young people from books. The key, however, is never to force your child to read. Starting from a good feeling, many parents encourage their child or teenager to read. It is a behavior to be avoided. It is counterproductive and will put your child off reading more than anything else. If you want to instill in them a taste for books, lead by example. Indeed, children tend to imitate their parents. If they see you reading regularly, they will copy you.
Conversely, if you spend your time in front of the screens, without ever opening a book, any attempt to make them like reading will be doomed to failure. If that doesn’t come anyway, don’t give up, and never think that reading isn’t for your child. There is a literary genre for every person. It’s up to you to find them. If your child finds a work or a book that will capture their attention and develop their imagination, then it is good for them. Moreover, many young people turn away from reading because of compulsory reading. Make it fun and enjoyable and they are more likely to reach for more and more books in the future.