For children and adults, writers or not, reading is important to personal development, well-being, and the learning mind.
Every day is a great day to celebrate and recognize the importance of reading. It’s not just that good readers make good writers – the importance of reading extends to everyone, writer or not. Indeed, reading is important throughout all stages of life, from early childhood to old age.
Children and the importance of reading
For children, with minds that are actively developing, the importance of reading goes far beyond the simple enjoyment of stories and books. Reading improves comprehension across all school subjects and helps children develop better communication skills. Numerous studies indicate that children in preschool and kindergarten who read, or who are read to often, perform better in various subjects, including math and science, than students who have had less exposure to books.
This is one reason why many in the US – including teachers, students, and parents – celebrate Theodor Seuss Geisel’s Birthday (AKA Dr. Seuss) on March 2 during Read Across America Day. The impetus behind the celebration was to create the same sense of fanfare and enthusiasm for reading as schools typically do for sporting events and spirit weeks. It’s a worthwhile initiative that encourages young readers and generates a sense of fun related to reading.
It’s no secret that reading can be a challenge for some children, which can cause them to stay clear books and develop a personal narrative that reading doesn’t interest them. As writers, parents, and lovers of the written word, it is imperative that we contribute and help children by giving them the guidance and encouragement they need to develop healthy reading skills.
It starts with finding the right book, and having access to books they will enjoy. Dr. Seuss books are a great place to start!
Adults and the importance of reading
Just as a child’s mind needs stimulation to develop and grow, so does the mind of an adult! Books can serve so many purposes for adults and can truly help expand our minds and even improve mental health. Here are just a few benefits of reading.
1) You learn new things
Books can teach you directly, from self-help titles that guide you through difficult emotional times, such as grief or a divorce, to those that teach a specific task, such as building your own furniture. But DIY, text books, and self-help titles are certainly not the only types of books that can teach you. The beauty of reading is that each reader experiences a book in his or her own way, though his or her own lens. You might read a fiction novel and discover something new about yourself. Nonfiction books, a historical text for instance, can expose you to a facet of history you didn’t know before. If you’re paying attention, books make excellent teachers.
2) You expand your perspective
In a best-case scenario, books expand your mind, allowing you to reach outside your own life and take a look at something different. Stories, be they fiction or nonfiction, provide an opportunity to see through the eyes and perspective of someone else, which might give you a taste of experiences or ideas you would never have explored on your own. In this way, reading books can also help you relate to others on a deeper level. While reading a painful story about a woman from another country, bound by a culture very different from your own, you might start to see glimpses of yourself within the pages. In a story written with brutal honesty, no matter how disparate the setting may be from your own life, you may even feel as if the writer put into words what you yourself could not.
3) You open yourself to new experiences
You are one person, bound by time and space: you cannot see every place or experience every situation firsthand. But through books, you can expose yourself to an incredibly diverse variety of people, places, and experiences. Stories can give you new perspectives when it comes to complex topics and choices people face every day, even if you will never face the same difficult decisions. Reading may expose you to a hobby or field of study you never would have considered but, after reading about it, find that you really enjoy. By opening ourselves to books, we’re exposed to worlds outside our own, which is just one reason why reading is so incredibly important.
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