The benefits of reading were once described to young children this way; “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – A powerful statement uttered by the famous Dr. Suess!

Ok, so that was just a saying by a famous children’s author and illustrator. In fact, Dr. Seuss was also a political cartoonist, poet, animator, screenwriter, filmmaker and of course, a doctor! Quite a successful guy then. Maybe he knew what he was talking about!

Well, what if we were to tell you that Scientists support with the greatest enthusiasm Dr. Seuss’ words! That’s right, reading plays a major key role in everything we come to know and understand which is fundamental to our success in life. But in this article we are talking about how reading can be an invaluable key foundation to your child’s success! Let’s take a peak at the facts…

The Benefits of Reading: Let’s Take A Peak at the Facts!

Did you know? “Children’s books have 50% more rare words in them than does adult prime time television.”

Journal of Direct Instruction

Reading Enhances A Child’s Development

It’s an obvious fact that reading will enhance your child’s development. We don’t want to teach you how to suck eggs here! But what exactly do we mean when we refer to their ‘development’? Simply, reading will help them grow in their understanding, their ability to reason, empathise, utilise good judgement and make better decisions. The benefits of reading are too numerous to list! Reading opens up an unlimited world of knowledge that will broaden their minds, giving them essential qualities and abilities that will assist them in becoming happy, successful adults as they mature. ‘Happy and successful’? Parents, we know that this has been your maternal desire since their birth!

“Children who read are better able to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic in various scenarios, recognise cause and effect, and utilise good judgement.”

The Expert Editor

“Children who read can extrapolate what they learned in books to various scenarios. Things such as cause and effect, empathy, and rational or moral judgement are just some of the things children can grasp from reading.”

The Expert Editor

Reading can Boost your Brain Power

Do your children like to read for pure pleasure? Well, if they do then, their little brains may be slowly swelling as we speak! If not, then it’s not too late to start. They may not be aware of the mammoth benefits of reading and how doing so regularly can be fun and make them a super ‘smarty pants’! Notice the effects that ‘reading for pleasure’ had on the cognitive development of children over time;

“Children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers.”

“Making more progress in maths, vocabulary and spelling.”

A ” strong reading ability will enable children to absorb and understand new information and affect their attainment in all subjects.”

Institute of Education (IOE) for Longitudinal Studies

“Young children who are learning to read begin to develop their brain’s left fusiform gyrus, where the learned words and letters are stored. The more they read, the more connections are formed between the visual and language parts of the brain.”

The Expert Editor

Reading can Make you More Empathetic

Children often have powerful imaginations which play a key role as they immerse themselves in a good book. They become the super hero, the villain or the victim in peril who is need of rescuing! That effortless ability can literally bring stories to life for children, helping them to not only understand their own feelings better but that of others too. We often refer to it as ’empathy.’

“We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.” says neuroscientist Gregory Berns.

“The Emory study focused on the lingering neural effects of reading a narrative… The results showed heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language… A heightened connectivity was also seen in the central sulcus of the brain, the primary sensory motor region of the brain.”

“The neural changes were not just immediate reactions, Berns says, since they persisted the morning after the reading, and for the five days after the participants completed the novel.”

eScience Commons – neuroscientist Gregory Berns

“’Understanding others’ mental states is a crucial skill that enables the complex social relationships that characterise human societies,” David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano wrote of their findings.

Science Mag

Reading can Help Relieve Stress

Yes, reading is a known stress buster! By how much? By a whopping 68%, making reading a winner against all of its competitors. You may be surprised to learn that reading even trumps listening to music! So why is reading so effective upon lowering our stress levels? Psychologists believe that the concentration required to read and the distraction of imagination when being taken into “a literary world” literally “eases the tension in muscles and the heart”.

Cognitive Neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis found that “reading worked best, reducing stress levels by 68 per cent’. It was better than listening to music (61%), drinking tea or coffee (54%) and taking a walk (42%). It only took 6 minutes for participants’ stress levels to be reduced.”

The Telegraph – Research by University of Sussex.

Reading can Help you Sleep Sounder & Perform Better

If your child incorporates reading into their bedtime ritual then don’t be surprised if they nod off sooner and sleep more soundly. Yes, quality sleep and plenty of it can cause your child to feel and perform better. It seems the benefits of reading are inexhaustible! We’re off to read once we’ve finished up here! A survey carried out in Britain for The Sleep Council notes the following benefits following a good nights sleep;

  • More positive
  • Happier
  • More productive

However, when we talk about reading before bed, we’re talking about the paper format here. None of those bright illuminating e-readers, iPads and iPhones! But young people and technology are synonymous in today’s world are they not? Yes, however research from PNAS warns that “the use of these devices before bedtime prolongs the time it takes to fall asleep, delays the circadian clock, suppresses levels of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, reduces the amount and delays the timing of REM sleep, and reduces alertness the following morning”. So, in short, not good for your beloved children who wish to spearhead Britains elite one day!

“More than four in ten Britons (41%) feel positive after a good night’s sleep, a third feel happy and almost a quarter (24%) feel productive, it’s well worth making the effort to improve our sleeping habits.

The Sleep Council – British Bedtime Report

So parents, after reading about the benefits of reading in our blog you now have lots of fabulous reasons to get your child reading too. Because the more that they read, the more things they will know. The more things that they learn, the more places they’ll go!

If your child is not an avid reader just yet then why not encourage them to join our ‘Accelerated Reading Scheme,’ we have in place for our students. It is designed to help them feel a sense of achievement as they work their way through bronze, silver and gold stars!

Why not share your experiences with us! How have you implemented reading as part of your child’s routine? What challenges did you face? Has it proved successful? We’d love to receive your feedback.