“So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky.”William James
Children are highly impressionable; clean slates we can etch epics into. As omnipresent parts of their lives, parents play an important part in authoring the prologues of these epics. And as parents, it is our responsibility to ensure that our children go out to conquer the world wielding every tool at their disposal, and a love for reading is definitely a powerful weapon you can add to their arsenal.
Any behavior adopted in the early stages of childhood tends to become a habit, which is why it is important to help children develop the habit of reading from a young age. There is no age limit for your children to be introduced to books. The sooner you start, the better, as different children learn at different paces.
Helping children discover the magic of reading will ensure they reap the benefits such as the following for a lifetime:
1. Children Who Read Find Companionship in Books
“We read to know we are not alone.”C.S. Lewis
Reading gives our children opportunities to grow up with diverse companions as varied as the fish in the deep seas. They make friends with the myriad characters in books and walk unfamiliar roads in new shoes, leaving room for fresh perspectives to take shape.
Books are not earmarked for specific categories of children. Books are meant for children of all ages. They help to form bonds with like-minded individuals who will enable our children to help push conventional boundaries.
2. Reading can Broaden a Young Child’s Perspective
Children’s outlooks are highly dependent on the environment around them, the notions they are consciously or unconsciously introduced to, and the world they quietly observe through unbiased eyes. To ensure the holistic development of a child, it is important to remove the unavoidable constraints they may be subjected to. Reading provides glimpses of new worlds to children, worlds that may as of yet be unattainable to them. It opens them up to new possibilities, novel doctrines, and visionary chains of thought. They are driven to explore uncharted territories, unimpeded by a lack of imagination.
3. Reading Can Introduce Children to Good Values at a Young Age
Books are full of good morals that children can imbibe. They can serve as the initial introduction to the nuances of good and bad, ambiguous terms that are still open to interpretation. Children develop important virtues at a very young age that will remain for a lifetime.
They develop patience as they eagerly wait for the ending to a thrilling tale, empathy as they commiserate with the unfortunate victims of injustice they come across on those pages, and tolerance as they learn to think from the perspective of others.
4. Children Who Read Have a Competitive Edge Over Peers
Just as physical exercise helps body development, reading exercises the gray cells. Studies show that brain development is accelerated in younger children as they tend to be more receptive to new information. Children who love reading will definitely stand out among their peers in terms of scholastic achievement.
They will be able to comprehend academic texts more easily, as they will be familiar with more words. They will also be able to grasp new concepts faster, which they will be able to explain better in their own words, thus eradicating the dangerous addiction of ‘learning by heart’ without proper comprehension.
5. Reading Books Increases Confidence Development in Children
Books are not limited to fiction alone; they cover almost every topic under the sun. While it is important to let our children choose the type of books they enjoy reading, it is also beneficial to introduce them to general knowledge books and biographies too.
Well-read children tend to become more confident in approaching life as the knowledge acquired from books equip them to mingle with any crowd, talk to intellectuals on equal footing, and have meaningful conversations.
6. Reading Bedtime Stories to Children Help in Boosting Their Creativity
Children who enjoy the magic of books tend to have their imagination unfettered by logical constraints, which leads to an increase their overall creativity. Fairy tales are filled with adventure and magic, realms where anything is possible and good always triumphs over evil.
Kids live and love vicariously through their fairy tale heroes, their lives becoming one with the pages of whichever book they read at the time. The heroes of these stories go on daring voyages to discover lands unknown to man, bold quests to rescue princesses from mythical beasts and overcome obstacles that would stump a normal mortal. And they take our children along for the wondrous ride.
7. Reading the Right Kind of Books Helps Build Character
It is said that a child who reads becomes an adult who thinks. Character development is extremely important for young children. Reading helps foster a positive mindset, helping children become optimistic adults, who are not easily daunted by adversity. It gives them the courage to fight and overcome any obstacles they face.
It is crucial to ensure they read the right words, as the books children read and the stories they come across change them irrevocably. Used wisely, books can motivate children to be the hero of their own story and write their own fates.
Children are rather like sponges, absorbing without discrimination, and they may unknowingly assimilate the bad with the good. Guide them well.AF
Therefore, good books change lives for the better and help children become more focused adults who dare to dream beyond physical, geological, or financial restraints. And bad books (yes, they exist) can instill unconscious fear, mistrust, or hatred in tender minds. Hence arises the need to monitor them closely during the formative years of their lifelong relationship with books, until you are confident they can distinguish between right and wrong.