The world around us is filled with words both written and spoken.
While it is true that it is possible to get by using just oral communication (a.k.a. just talking), life is much easier if we know how to read.
Reading is an important life skill that everyone should possess. Sure there is a distinction between reading for survival or because you have to (something along the lines of Dory being able to read P Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way Sydney because they needed to find Nemo) and reading for pleasure.
The first one being the basic reading skill – the one taught in school and the second one being the love, the passion, and the enjoyment that avid readers have (whether it is reading the newspaper, comic books, or finishing each John Green novel). Nonetheless, the point is, reading is important and this little material is here to detail the reasons why.
It is possible to live and succeed without knowing how to read. But, it sure would be easier and less complicated if one could.
So, grab you favorite drink and get cozy because we are going on a little reading adventure starting here.
Reading Then vs Reading Now
Back in the earlier days, children were sent to school to learn to read, write, and do math. They start with the ABCs and 123s, learn phonetic reading, and how to spell d-o-g and c-a-t.
As students progress they are given textbooks, they read aloud together, experience poetry contests, and so on. Adults used to be fascinated with novels and comic books as evidenced by the people reading in trains, buses, and public transport.
The morning paper was a big part of breakfast, the paperboy had a job, and magazines had to be in all waiting rooms.
Reading has always been an integral part of the school curriculum and a part of our daily lives. What has changed through the years is the way we experience “reading”.
These days, it is common to find children learning their ABCs from an app, students looking up information on Google rather than going to the library, young people buying Cliff Notes, or listening to online reviews instead of reading actual novels they need for school.
Adults are also found sifting through the news online, listening to audiobooks in the car, or learning about things from YouTube rather than an instruction manual. We have gotten used to things being digital, fast and easy that the act of reading has changed so much.
Heck, some researchers have been saying our attention span may not be long enough to sustain actual reading! In turn, this digital age is affecting not just the way we read but the way we think, process information, and even the way we live.
Reading has changed through the years but it is still very important. Reading is good for us, it is good for our brains, good for our lives.
How? Read on to find out.
14 Reasons Why Reading is Important for Your Children
1 – Reading is an essential skill in today’s world.
Day-to-day activities require reading to survive. We need to be able to read food and medicine labels if we do not want to get poisoned.
We need to be able to fill out application forms, read road signs, and be able to follow maps as well. Reading is important even for that little terms and conditions at the end of your online agreements when you install apps and the likes.
2 – Reading is vital to getting a job.
Good reading skills increase the chances of getting better jobs. Jobs requiring memos, reports, and other paper works require reading. A job contract (or any kind of contract for that matter) requires reading before signing.
Poor reading skills make people less efficient. Poor reading skills is also a limitation and a handicap when it comes to the workplace.
3 – Reading makes you a better thinker.
Our brains, just like the rest of our bodies, need exercise. The phrase “use it or lose it” cannot be more accurate when it comes to our brains. We are all born with great brain density and hundred thousand of neurons that wire together during the early years of life.
The brain density does not remain the same throughout life. Reading is a way to connect the neurons so we do not lose them.
Need to have more proof? Here are a few scientific studies that show that reading makes you a better thinker:
- A 2013 study at the Emory University found that reading increases activity in the temporal cortex (area responsible for language) and the central sulcus (responsible for “Grounded cognition”). This implies that reading prepares us for the actual doing.
For example, reading about swimming techniques stimulates the brain to think about how it is actually done and creates the feeling of swimming, thus, making it easier to actually doing it.
- The 2013 study by Kidd and Castano showed that reading literary fiction improves the “Theory of Mind” or the ability to understand complex social relationships. Kidd and Castano found higher scores in tests for affective and cognitive skills when they compared readers of fiction and non-fiction.
- Berns, Blaine, Prietula, and Pye (2013) found that reading a novel has short and long-term effects on brain connectivity.
4 – Good readers are better spellers.
Most young children learn to read phonetically. This manner of sounding out letters and putting the sounds together to read a word helps in spelling.
In addition to being good at spelling, reading also expands the vocabulary. The relationship of reading, spelling, and vocabulary is one of the reasons why the current generation is having a hard time since they are more exposed to text language and shortcuts in spelling.
5 – Reading is a way of discovering new things.
The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go. - Dr. Seuss
Indeed, reading has that ability to bring us to a different place or time, even when we have to stay exactly where we are. It is inevitable that we discover new things from reading books, magazines, and even online materials.
6 – Reading can connect you to the rest of the world.
Let’s face it, traveling is fun but it costs a lot. If you would like to learn about the culture, history, or people from different parts of the world, you need not leave your home.
Flipping through books and magazines will already give you enough ideas, even about the most far-flung areas. Reading will open doors for you beyond what others cannot see.
7 – Reading improves imagination and creativity.
Television, computers and our gadget can provide us with fun and amusement. However, they cannot develop imagination and creativity the way reading can.
Reading makes the author’s words come to life in our minds. It is up to the reader to envision how the characters look, act or speak like.
Reading puts us into the stories themselves and gets us thinking of the plots for hours and sometimes even for days. The same cannot be said about television shows or games that have ideas, pictures, and graphics already made for us. The latter limits our creativity and even worse – dull it.
8 – Reading helps us have a positive self-image.
It is inevitable that non-readers or poor readers tend to have low self-esteem because of the difficulties they will encounter in their lives. The feeling of inadequacy, insecurity, and isolation is real and behavioral problems can emerge because of this.
They tend to perform poorly in certain aspects such as work or school or tend to give up easily. Learning how to read is a form of empowerment because reading is the key to more information, thus, being able to read is associated with higher self-confidence.
9 – Reading makes you a better listener and communicator.
Reading requires focus and comprehension. Because of this, people who love to read tend to be better attuned to details, become better listeners, and have better use of language.
Reading (and reading a lot) develops the ability to read between the lines and make use of words to deliver a message effectively.
Listening, comprehension and communication skills that are developed hand in hand with reading can possibly help in lessening misunderstandings and have a better interpersonal experience.
10 – Reading improves empathy.
It has always been said that reading good stories can put us in other people’s shoes and see the story unfold as we relate to the characters of a book. This used to be just a figure of speaking but now, research has found that there is a biological basis for this.
Neuroscientists and researchers from New York City have found evidence that literary fiction helps improve our empathy – the capacity to understand what others are thinking or feeling. Literary fiction is written in such a way that readers are provoked to fill in the gaps to understand motivations and intentions and to dig into the personas of the story’s characters.
The plot twists and complicated characters defy our expectations and make us question our own predicaments; literary fiction makes us relate to the characters while making us question our moral compass and teaching us important social lessons.
11 – Reading is a form of entertainment and relaxation at the same time.
There are many forms of entertainment like sports and watching television. However, not all entertainment forms allow the body to be quiet and calm.
Television tends to over-stimulate with the constant flashing lights, and noise. Electronic gadgets require constant interaction with them. On the other hand, the act of reading is still, less stressful on the eyes, and silent, too.
12 – Reading enables greater understanding and being good at more things.
As mentioned above, reading is a preparation for doing. It is a wise habit that will allow us to have a greater understanding of anything that interests us. In effect, reading is a way of self-improvement.
Need tips on how to organize?
- You can read something about that.
Want to be better at a certain skill?
- There are reading materials on almost any hobby you fancy.
Reading allows you to create a structure, a path to action, so to speak. Reading prepares you for action. When you read, you learn; when you learn you can do; and when you start doing, you achieve.
13 – Reading brings you closer to people you look up to.
Not all of us have the time, resources, or energy to follow our idols everywhere they go. Besides, that is so stalker-ish and could end up in a restraining order.
Reading allows us to learn more about someone and gain experience from them. This is especially true for those who want to learn from motivational speakers, billionaires, and countless great minds out there.
Take advantage of reading the memoirs, biographies, and other written works by and about the great people over the years. Doing so helps us learn from their experiences.
The art of reading is in great part that of acquiring a better understanding of life from one’s encounter with it in a book. - André Maurois
14 – Reading gives you ammunition.
You know what makes those lawyer characters look so good and speak so quick witted-ly in the lawyer shows? Well aside from their sharp suits, they know what they’re talking about.
Yup, they use jargon and stuff even in the most mundane situations. In real life, lawyers, doctors, and other professionals that people tend to admire, can talk the way they do because they have read countless pages with a similar writing style.
Reading does not just make you smart, it makes you sound smart, too. Winning at debates, arguments, and what-have-you’s is not possible if you are not a well-read person, even if you happen to be right.
If you liked this article, make sure to check our next article on "Useful Tips for Encouraging Kids to Read".