Why Reading Matters: Raising Good Readers

In a world of distractions, some young people are abandoning reading. Between online videos, games, and streaming movies, and sports there are plenty of options to fill a child and teen’s free time. As a result of all this busyness, book reading is on the decline. For many kids, opening a book may seem boring. They may complain that it requires too much work or is too much like homework. The lure of quick entertainment is too strong. However, raising good readers has advantages that last a lifetime.

Why Reading Books Is Important

  • Books help with learning: Kids and teens who read are better able to grasp difficult concepts and learn new information to help with decision-making. As kids move into high-school and college, experienced readers already have the skills to decipher challenging words and content needed to master a knowledge area. They also have the endurance for longer books such as textbooks.
  • Reading provides a chance to unwind: Getting lost in a book is a good way to wind down from a stressful day. Reading time is quiet time where young people can relax after a busy day while there minds focus on the story. During this time, it is wise to focus on books that are enjoyable and inline with the child’s interest.
  • Reading spurs imagination: Creative story lines encourage readers to think through alternatives and try to figure out what happens next. Kids might also comes up with their own ideas for how characters should act. This imagination time can lead to discoveries that the child can build on at home and at school.
  • Reading creates friendship opportunities: Reading good books can lead to conversations about those books. Whether on the playground, in the neighborhood, or at after school activities, discussion about stories lead to shared experiences and connections.

How Do I Encourage My Kids To Read?

Teaching kids to be strong readers doesn’t have to be hard.

The first step is to make books available. This can be as simple as making monthly visits to the library or stocking a small bookshelf with reading material. Many communities are making books more accessible by creating Little Free Libraries in public places such as playgrounds and neighborhoods. Check these for kids books and add used kids books when they are available.

Help kids find books that meet their interests. Visit any online or brick and mortar books store to find many good books for young teens and children. Encourage kids to wander through the stacks to find books that interest them. When a young person find a book that excites them, they are more likely to finish the book and look for more.

Encourage group reading. When children and teens are surrounded by readers, they feel more comfortable reading. Book clubs are a great way to encourage young people to pick up a book. Idea sharing and discussion is easier when surrounded by others who enjoy talking about stories.

Read to you kids. The best way to encourage young kids to read is to read to them. Starting young creates good habits that can last into adulthood. If upper-elementary kids and teens are reluctant to read, set aside family reading time. Modeling strong reading habits has a positive impact on a child’s attitude towards books.

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