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The Importance of Reading for Kids of all Ages

06/06/2013 | Room to Grow | by Catherine Godiva

In the last 10 years technology has moved forward with incredible leaps and bounds.  While this is all good and well for even the youngest students,  happily playing with their iPads, smart phones and watching their flatscreen TVs, the fact still remains that reading is one of the most important skills that a child will learn in their entire life, no question about it.

Indeed, while playing games, using apps and knowing how to surf the web is certainly a valuable skill these days, reading is one of the few skills that can promote emotional development, growth of cerebral function and much more. Reading, more than any other activity that a child will learn in the lifetime, introduces them to ideas, concepts and new cultures (as well as much more) better than any other skill besides actually being able to talk.

Even before they can actually read on their own, reading to a young child will help them to grow significantly and will also instill a love of not just books but great literature and entice them to start reading on their own and going forth into new worlds and new adventures.

Let’s face it, as incredible as some of the electronic gadgets and tools that are now available to children are, without the fundamental ability to read and understand the words being displayed, a computer screen, iPad or smart phone will be rather useless. Without the capacity to be able to read words and understand what their meaning is even the best electronic gadget will provide nothing more than worthless, time wasting ‘entertainment’.

Reading to your child is also one of the best ways to not only instill a love of the printed word into their psyche but also to build long-term, deep bonds between a parent and a child. There are a great many different ways that you can encourage your child to begin reading on their own.  Reading books to them from an early age is the best way to start as well as reading age appropriate stories that will stimulate their mind and thought process.

The most important factor is that, while you are reading to them and also when they begin to read on their own, millions of new connections are being created in their brain as their vocabulary develops. This vocabulary, of course, will expand their mind as well as their world and help them to be successful not just in school but in life.

And as much fun as playing games on a smart phone or tablet can be, a trip to the local library to explore the incredibly vast and varied books and stories housed there is much more beneficial to your child’s mental health and indeed their future. The simple fact is that, despite the amazing technological advances that we humans have made, being able to read is still one of the greatest gifts a child can receive and one that will take them much further than any electronic gizmo could ever hope to.


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