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☰ The Benefits of Reading

Head's Blog

The Benefits of Reading

Posted on March 04 2016

Wow, what a week that was! Most weeks at Forest Park are busy and full of exciting activities, but this week has surpassed them all. World Book Week is a national event celebrated in many schools, but I do not know of too many that have managed to cram so many exciting activities in to a week as we have.

We’ve had story planning lessons and creative writing tasks. We dressed up as pirates and sailors and enjoyed a creative arts day as well as welcomed a collection of parents in to school to read to groups of children. Our poetry competition final was held in celebration assembly and the author Damien Harvey came to visit and shared some of his writing skills with us in a series of workshops. Oh, and on top of that we also took the juniors to Young Voices at the MEN arena.

The reason we crammed so much into a week based around books is because of the educational benefits of reading. The importance of reading starts with the first book a child hears and continues into childhood and throughout the child's life. At Forest Park, we focus the whole curriculum around reading. Research by the Literacy Trust highlights the main benefits of reading.

Here are the Top 10 reasons why reading is important and why children – and adults - should read often and widely:


1. Children who read often and widely get better at it.

This is pretty much just common sense. After all, practice makes perfect in almost everything we humans do and reading is no different from anything else. 


2. Reading exercises our brains.

Reading is a much more complex task for the human brain than, say, watching TV or an iPad. Reading strengthens brain connections and actually builds new connections enhancing intelligence.


3. Reading improves concentration.

Children have to sit still and quietly so they can focus on the story when they’re reading. If they read regularly, they develop the ability to do this for longer periods.


4. Reading teaches children about the world around them.

Through reading, children learn about people, places and events outside their own experience. They are exposed to ways of life, ideas and beliefs about the world which may be different from those which surround them. This learning is important for its own sake however it also builds a store of background knowledge which helps younger children learn to read confidently and well. 


5. Reading improves a child’s vocabulary and leads to more highly-developed language skills.

This is because children learn new words as they read but also because they unconsciously absorb information as they read about things like how to structure sentences and how to use words and language effectively. 


6. Reading develops a child’s imagination.

This is because when we read our brains translate the descriptions we read of people, places and things into pictures. When we’re engaged in a story, we’re also imagining how the characters are feeling. We use our own experiences to imagine how we would feel in the same situation. 


7. Reading helps children develop empathy.

Reading about characters ensures that you’re identifying with the character in the story so you’re feeling what they are.  


8. Children who read do better at school.

And they don’t just do better at subjects like English. They develop skills in all subjects and progress better all the way through their time in school as a result.


9. Reading is a great form of entertainment.

A paperback book or an e-reader like the Amazon Kindle doesn’t take up much space so you can take it anywhere and you’ll never be lonely or bored if you have a book in your bag. You can also read absolutely anywhere.


10. Reading relaxes the body and calms the mind.

This is an important point because these days we seem to have forgotten how to relax and take time out. The constant movement, flashing lights and noise which bombard our senses when we’re watching TV, looking at a computer or playing an electronic game are actually quite stressful for our brains. When we read, we read in silence and the black print on a white page is much less stressful for our eyes and brains. 

So there you have it – the Top 10 benefits of reading! 

Nick Tucker

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