Reading is crucial for children to grasp at a young age. Not only does it provide the foundation for every other academic subject, but it can also expand their mind to deeper thought processes as they grow, and allow them to experience different perspectives through the lenses of others.
As enjoyable as reading can be for some young students, for others, it can be a challenge. All students learn differently, and certain concepts come easier at different stages depending on the child. This is important to understand so that students can grow up beautifully individualistic and confident – as all children (and adults!) learn and experience things differently. This is what makes humans wonderfully unique.
With that being said, sometimes what a young learner needs is to be shown the excitement of reading in a way that is enjoyable to them. Something we will save for another time. For this post, we’d like to focus on the reasons why we want to find ways to get them reading.
To begin with the most prevalent and pressing, without a grasp on literacy, it will be difficult for students to understand concepts in every other subject area. This may sound a little too obvious, but it can sometimes be overlooked in the grand scheme. When they have a good foundational understanding of literacy, they will have an easier time understanding mathematical word problems, social studies and history, and other assignments in all subject areas. It truly is the substructure of all learning.
Reading also broadens a child’s scope to understand other perspectives and emotions, proving it to be an important role in grasping empathy. As shown in the Journal of Research and Personality, there is a strong correlation between reading fiction and empathic reasoning. It is wonderful when children are able to grasp this at an early age, as it is then with them as they grow and have different experiences of their own. This provides a solid foundation for social development in growing children. Though storytelling comes in many forms, when a child is able to absorb a story through literacy on their own, it can really expand the cognitive experience in more depth.
Furthermore, reading opens up so much potential for creativity by sparking a child’s imagination. It allows them to walk into another world and experience a story that oftentimes expands their point of view in the real world that surrounds them.
Finally, when a growing student has the foundational knowledge of literacy, it provides them with the confidence that is crucial in their academic journey. A student that can firmly understand what is being asked of them, is better able to get to the answer they need on their own or at least have a more pinpointed understanding of where exactly they need help when working through an assignment.
An article published by Reading Rockets, states that “…good readers are most often strategic readers. That is, they use a number of comprehension strategies to get meaning from text. Comprehension strategies are conscious plans or procedures that are under the control of a reader, who makes decisions about which strategies to use and when to use them.”
This further solidifies why we want students to get a handle on literacy at an early age. We want them to be able to take on their studies with confidence in all subject areas, as confidence plays such a critical role in a child’s academic and emotional development. Confident readers have a layer of core readiness that follows them strongly throughout their academic journey.
Knowing why it is important for children to get excited about reading at an early age allows us to feel more empowered to find ways to get them enthusiastic about it early on, providing them colorful and fuller perspectives in their day-to-day life, both in the classroom and beyond.
“The whole world opened up to me when I learned to read”
– Mary McCleod Bethune
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