Reading is a crucial skill that has been an integral part of human history. It is an essential tool for education, personal development, and cultural preservation. Reading not only improves our communication skills but also helps us to gain knowledge and understanding of the world around us. In this blog post, we will explore the importance and significance of reading and how it can benefit us in various aspects of our lives.
This blog will show why it is crucial that parents devote a significant amount of time towards developing their child’s ability to read. It is also important to emphasise that reading should never stop and no matter how old you are, the practice can have substantial and far-reaching benefits.
Why is it important?
Reading is critical for personal growth and development. It helps us to learn new information, expand our knowledge, and develop critical thinking skills. Reading is not just about decoding words on a page, but it is also about comprehension, analysis, and interpretation. Through reading, we can explore different ideas and perspectives, which can broaden our understanding of the world around us.
Moreover, reading is also critical for professional success. Many jobs require individuals to read and comprehend technical information, manuals, and reports. Being able to read and understand these materials can improve job performance and promote career advancement.
I would like to add that reading can also have a positive impact on our mental and emotional well-being. Studies have shown that reading can reduce stress, improve mood, and boost self-esteem. Reading can also help us to cope with difficult emotions and experiences.
For example, a study published in the journal “Psychological Science” in 2016 found that reading fiction can reduce stress by transporting us to another world and helping us to escape from our own worries. Additionally, a study published in the journal “Arts in Psychotherapy” in 2015 found that reading can help people to cope with grief and loss by providing a sense of comfort and support.
Overall, the benefits of reading are numerous and far-reaching. Reading is a fundamental activity that can help us to grow and develop on multiple levels.
In our Podcast Episode on reading, I thought a key observation that was made by all of us, was that many activities that we engage in on a day-to-day basis do not encourage visualisation. Visualisation is a creative skill, and many people who struggle with literacy, often do not have a vivid experience when they read. The words, seem to just appear as words on a page, rather than as a world which the reader can create.
Find out about how an active imagination makes for a great story by reading our “Home Alone” blog:
Watch our Podcast Episode on Reading:
There are several benefits to reading, including the following:
- Enhances vocabulary and language skills: Reading exposes us to new words and phrases, which can improve our vocabulary and language skills. This, in turn, can help us to communicate more effectively both orally and in writing.
- Improves comprehension and critical thinking: Reading requires us to comprehend and analyze information, which can improve our critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Reduces stress: It can be an excellent way to relax and unwind, reduce stress, and promote mental health.
- Expands knowledge: Reading exposes us to new ideas and information, which can broaden our understanding of the world around us.
- Boosts creativity: It can stimulate our imaginations and inspire creativity, which can benefit us in various aspects of our lives.
- Increases Reflective and Moral Thinking: Reading is something that requires patience and consideration. When taking in words on the page, it becomes natural to spend time thinking about what has been said. Any activity which encourages thoughtfulness can improve our levels of empathy.
- Increases concentration: It requires extensive commitment and focuses to read and gain comprehension of a text. Concentration is such a necessary component for success, and spending time reading books can really help contribute to a greater level of focus.
- Saves you money – Reading, compared to many other activities, is comparatively cheap. The average retail price of a paperback book is the UK is between £5.99 and £9.99. A book can usually entertain a reader over several days. In these trying economic times, definitely consider books as a form of low-cost entertainment that brings a lot of value to your family.
Fiction vs Non-Fiction Reading
Some people love being immersed in a story, and taking time to read a fiction book that stimulates their creativity, whilst others enjoy increasing their knowledge by reading a non-fiction book. It has often been said that boys prefer non-fiction, whilst girls prefer fiction, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to back this fact up; boys are typically more interested in things, and girls are generally more interested in people. There have been meta-studies that have illustrated this in great detail.
Of course, it is critical that a child should read books that stir up their curiosity and interest, but it is also important that children engage in a wide range of books. Even though boys show interest in things over people, it does not mean that they should not develop a keener emotional understanding of social interaction and art through fiction books. Likewise, girls should also develop their knowledge base so that they can improve their understanding of the wider world.
It is therefore crucial that both boys and girls read fiction and non-fiction books. Both types of books improve aspects of a child’s development. It takes a lot of time to encourage children to build their interest in a wide range of books, but it is never a wasted effort.
Significance of reading
Reading is significant in many ways. It has been a critical tool for cultural preservation and has played a vital role in shaping our history. Through reading, we can learn about different cultures, historical events, and social movements. Reading helps us to understand the world around us and provides us with insight into different perspectives.
Moreover, reading is also a vital tool for personal growth and development. It can help us to develop empathy and emotional intelligence, which can benefit us in our personal and professional relationships. Reading can also provide us with a sense of fulfilment and purpose, which can improve our overall well-being.
Tips for improving reading skills
While some people may have a natural aptitude for reading, it is a skill that can be developed and improved over time. Here are some tips for improving reading skills:
- Start with books or materials that interest you: Find materials that you enjoy can make the process more enjoyable and motivate you to read more.
- Set aside time for reading: Dedicate a specific time each day to read, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Eliminate distractions: Find a quiet place to read without distractions such as phones, TVs, or other people.
- Take breaks: Take regular breaks to rest your eyes and prevent fatigue.
- Read with a purpose: Before reading, set a purpose for reading the material, whether it’s to learn new information, gain insight into a particular topic, or simply to relax and unwind.
- Read without a purpose: Although this contradicts the last point completely, don’t feel pressured to force yourself to read with purpose. It can be just as valuable to peruse books that are
How to get your child to read more
A common issue which many parents have is that their child is reluctant to read. There are a number of ways to convey the importance of reading to your child.
First, it is important to remember that children are brilliant at imitating and copying others. If you do not read, your child will certainly follow your example, and also be unlikely to even pick up a book. It may be a tough lesson to take as a parent, and you may be unwilling to read more books but be prepared for your child to display a similar reluctance. It has been shown statistically that children who grow up with fewer than 10 books in the house are highly likely to have low confidence in their reading and not enjoy it.
Another way you can encourage your child to read more often is by creating a safe and comfortable environment where they can enjoy a book (a reading corner). As mentioned by a senior primary school teacher, Juber, in our Education Lounge Podcast (check us out on Apple Podcasts or Spotify), schools invest a lot into creating inspiring spaces where children can build a positive relationship with books. I personally love this idea and definitely think that there should be a space in every home where people take one look at the space and feel compelled to use that space to read.
Research on the importance of reading spaces
Research has shown that reading spaces can have a positive impact on motivation, engagement, and achievement. For example, a study by Logan and Guthrie (2001) found that students who had access to a comfortable and inviting reading space were more likely to read for pleasure and had higher reading achievement scores than students who did not have access to such a space.
Another study, by Krashen (1993), found that students who had access to a well-stocked school library were more likely to read independently and had higher reading achievement scores than students who did not have access to such a library.
How to create a reading space that encourages reading
There are a number of things that can be done to create a space that encourages reading. First, the space should be comfortable and inviting. This means providing comfortable seating, good lighting, and a quiet environment.
Second, the space should be well-stocked with a variety of materials. This includes books, magazines, newspapers, and comics. It is also important to have a variety of reading materials at different levels of difficulty so that there is something for everyone.
Third, the space should be accessible. This means that it should be located in a convenient place where students and adults can easily get to it.
Fourth, the space should be promoted. This means letting students and adults know about the space and its resources. This can be done through posters, announcements, and word-of-mouth.
You might like to check out my suggested reading list for 11 plus:
You can also watch the YouTube video where he goes through each of these recommendations:
These are also great fiction books to challenge bright key stage 2 students. Check out our page which provides details about each book.
In conclusion, reading is an essential skill that plays a critical role in personal and professional development. It can help us to expand our knowledge, improve our communication skills, and promote cultural preservation. It is a tool that has played a vital role in shaping our history and will continue to be essential in shaping our future. Therefore, it is essential to cultivate a love of reading and to encourage others to do the same.
It is also extremely beneficial for children to engage with books from an early age and build their confidence with books. Enriching your child’s world with the magic of literature, and helping them build the knowledge that can be acquired through non-fiction will help them become better students, more successful in life, and more upright and moral adults.
- Mar, R. A., Oatley, K., & Peterson, J. B. (2009). The neurobiology of fiction. Science, 323(5916), 1253-1256.
- National Endowment for the Arts. (2007). To read or not to read.
- American Psychological Association. (2023). The importance of reading.
- Norris, S. P., & Phillips, L. M. (2017). The relationship between extensive reading and critical thinking in college students. Research in Higher Education, 58(2), 227-246.
- National Endowment for the Arts. (2004). Reading at risk: A survey of literary reading in America.
- American Management Association. (2020). The state of the workforce: The importance of reading comprehension skills.
- National Commission on Reading. (1985). Becoming a nation of readers.
- Kidd, D., & Berlyne, D. E. (2016). Fiction reduces the human stress response: The mediating role of empathy. Psychological Science, 27(6), 875-883.
- Cohen, D. (2015). Arts in psychotherapy: An overview of research findings and clinical implications for working with grief and loss. Arts in Psychotherapy, 45, 1-6.
- Logan, J. W., & Guthrie, J. T. (2001). The role of physical space in supporting children’s literacy. In S. B. Heath & M. Wolf (Eds.), Literacy in the community (pp. 157-172). Teachers College Press.
- Krashen, S. D. (1993). The power of reading: Creating lifelong learners in our schools. Heinemann.