It is common knowledge that developing strong reading habits early in life is good for children. But what specific advantages does reading longer every day bring with it? There is growing evidence that supports that reading comprehension is not only a vital step in helping children develop a better memory and vocabulary, but also acquire the soft skills needed to navigate social and professional situations in their adult lives with ease.
This infographic by Perry and Lecompton school district explains why reading longer is better for children. A child who read 20 minutes a day as opposed to 1 minute would have gone through 1.8 million words in a year while the latter would have read only 8,000. This difference would result in vastly different academic and professional performances as well. Consider the following benefits that children can enjoy by reading more than 20 minutes everyday…
Reading increases attention span
Did you know that the human attention span is at an all-time low today? Our ability to hold a thought has gone down from 12 seconds in the early 2000s, to around 8 seconds in 2017 because of the incredible amounts of distractions that technology has made available. Unlike reading on the internet, where users may be jumping from one page to the next, reading a book forces them to process the information and try to make sense of the plot line.
John Stein, professor of neuroscience at Magdalen College, wrote in an article explaining the benefits of reading stating that “reading stories to children will help their brains develop the ability to analyze the cause, effect, and significance of events.”
The advantages of a longer attention span cannot be overstated. Multitasking, while no doubt an impressive ability, has been debunked as a productivity killer today. The better we can focus on one task at a time, the more productive we become. Reading for longer periods of time will help instill the discipline needed to remain committed to a task until it’s done.
Reading helps develop empathy
The narrative transportation theory states that people can become so immersed in a story, that their attitude and intentions begin to change to reflect it. Reading a good book can help transport a child into the world of the story, and make him/her see it from the protagonist’s perspective.
Giving a child the ability to see things from another person’s point of view means that they can relate to other people and their choices more easily. When a child reads every day for a good length of time, it can help them develop emotional intelligence and forge better relationships, allowing them to live better, more fulfilled lives.
Reading can stimulate a child’s imagination
“Logic will get you from A to B, imagination can get you anywhere,” said Albert Einstein. How many times have we heard that a good idea can change the world? Encouraging children to read longer helps them develop a healthy imagination, but more importantly, it also gives them the confidence to believe they can actually accomplish it by citing working examples.
Reading is well known to help develop creativity and problem-solving skills that are extremely valuable in a world that is waiting for the next big thing. However, there is a method to ensuring that a child reaps the rewards of reading to the fullest. Reading for at least 20 minutes every day will ensure that a child has had adequate time to absorb the material and process it.
The advantages of developing reading habits in children from an early age are far too numerous to be stated here. Readers are leaders after all and we at Education Connection are honored to help you help children develop reading habits that will no doubt create the next generation of pioneers, innovators, and trailblazers.